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Life-saving tobacco tax measure holds narrow lead in Field poll



September 29, 2016
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy Public Health 

A new Field poll shows that California voters narrowly favor Proposition 56, but also reflects the effect of Big Tobacco's mammoth spending and deceptive messaging. The Field poll found that Prop. 56 is ahead by 53 percent to 40 percent, with six weeks before Election Day.


“This is not a surprise. Tobacco companies have spent $200 million over the last 10 years in campaign contributions to defeat tobacco taxes,” said Yes on 56 Campaign Manager Jim DeBoo. “They know the tax itself will help prevent passing this deadly, costly habit on to the next generation of smokers. Tobacco will continue to inundate voters with misleading ads that have been widely repudiated by education leaders and independent fact checkers.”


Polls from the Los Angeles Times and Public Policy Institute of California last week showed the initiative holding a slightly larger lead of about 6 in 10 voters in favor.


Tobacco companies are pouring tens of millions of dollars into deceptive ads seeking to mislead and sway voters. The ads have been widely independently discredited by the Sacramento Bee, Politifact and the San Francisco Chronicle.


Smoking kills more than 40,000 Californians each year, and smoking-related health care costs California taxpayers $3.5 billion each year. 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.


Each year, nearly 17,000 California kids get hooked on tobacco, one-third of whom will die from tobacco-related diseases. In every other state that has significantly raised cigarette taxes, smoking rates have gone down, and the U.S. Surgeon General said this is especially true among kids.


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.

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