October 06, 2016
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy Public Health
The latest misleading ad from the tobacco industry-funded No on Prop. 56 campaign prominently features a retired ob-gyn from Amador county, Arnold Zeiderman, M.D. In the ad he claims, “I do everything in my power to stop people from smoking, but that's not what Prop. 56 is really about."
The Executive Committee of the California Medical Association and physician leaders across the state today issued an open letter to Dr. Zeiderman, urging him to reconsider his role as spokesperson for the tobacco industry and join with the rest of the California health care provider community in protecting kids, saving lives, keeping people from smoking and supporting Prop. 56.
Because keeping kids from starting and getting smokers to quit is absolutely what Prop. 56 is about.
“This is one retired doctor, reciting talking points that have been widely discredited, in an ad paid for by Phillip Morris and RJ Reynolds,” said Jeanne Conry, M.D., an ob-gyn from Roseville. “It comes down to a very simple question. Who do voters trust: Tobacco companies who spend billions marketing deadly products to kids and millions lying to Californians, or caregivers, medical professionals, business groups, cancer groups and teachers?”
Prop. 56 taxes deadly tobacco products that take the lives of 40,000 Californians each year, costing taxpayers $3.5 billion annually. Around the world, the public health community unanimously agrees that tobacco taxes work to reduce smoking.
Big Tobacco has invested $56 million towards deceptive ads and false claims to defeat Prop. 56, and has spent more than $200 million to defeat tobacco taxes in California over the last 10 years.
“Tobacco companies aren’t giving us enough credit if they think we believe that they are spending millions on attacking Proposition 56 because it doesn’t do enough to curb smoking,” said Dr. Conry. “The reality is that Proposition 56 will reduce smoking and prevent children from ever starting. Proposition 56 will make a meaningful impact on California’s health care system, and, most importantly, a meaningful impact on the health of Californians.”
Prop. 56 will increase California’s cigarette tax by $2 per pack, with an equivalent increase on products containing nicotine derived from tobacco, including e-cigarettes. The majority of the funds generated by Prop. 56 will go to Medi-Cal, which provides health care services to low income Californians. Prop. 56 will also triple the current funding levels for the state's tobacco control program.
To help spread the word about the life-saving tobacco tax, the Save Lives California campaign has developed a variety of materials to display in your office, share with colleagues and patients, and post on social media. To view the materials, visit www.yeson56.org/spread-the-word. Additional materials in the campaign store include yard signs, t-shirts, hats and campaign kits containing a variety of materials, perfect for a physician’s office.