February 29, 2016
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy Public Health
Save Lives California Update 02/29/2016
Below, please find the latest developments in CMA’s ongoing effort to pass a $2-per-pack tobacco tax increase in California:
Democrats in Legislature to pursue tobacco tax increase before special session closes
On Tuesday, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León said Democrats aren’t ready to give up on a package of tobacco bills that was introduced in a legislative special session on health late last year. The package includes a bill that would raise California’s tobacco tax by $2 per pack.
As The Sacramento Bee notes, passing the bills would be a “long shot” — they would need support from all Democrats in the Legislature and some Republicans to pass. We’ll keep an eye out for the bills as they are discussed in the Capitol over the next few weeks. However, our focus will remain on placing our coalition’s own initiative on the November 2016 ballot.
California’s ballot battle might reach half a billion dollars
It’s no secret that this year’s ballot is expected to be a big one in California — there are more measures predicted to be on the ticket than there have been in over 10 years. Eight measures have already qualified for the November ballot, with another 15 in the signature-gathering process. According to the Los Angeles Times, we can expect to see $452 million in spending or more by the time the initiative season has ended.
With such a crowded ballot, it is critical that we continue spreading the word about our important public health initiative in order to keep at the forefront of everyone’s minds. An easy way to do that is by “liking” and sharing posts from Save Lives California’s social media feeds and directing people to http://www.savelivesca.com.
Make your signatures count
As we continue to circulate petitions to qualify our initiative for the Nov. 8 ballot, it is important that individuals gathering signatures follow the form’s instructions carefully to ensure that each petition is valid.
Remember: any person who signs the petition must be a registered voter in the county listed at the top of the form, and all signature collectors must complete the “Declaration of Circulator” section at the bottom of each petition before turning it in.
CMA President-Elect Ruth Haskins, M.D., has helped create a video outlining the correct way to collect valid signatures.
Anti-smoking cat ad wins over the Internet
An anti-smoking commercial that aired during the Grammys last week took social media by storm — and hurled the harms of tobacco use into the public spotlight in the process.
If you’ve been on social media at all this week (Twitter, in particular), you may have seen the popular new hashtag “#CATmageddon.” It comes from a Truth Initiative ad that first announces that cats are twice as likely to get cancer if their owner smokes, and then asks viewers to help end smoking and prevent cats' extinction.
While the commercial may have used a bit of exaggeration to push its message, it was successful in getting people to think and talk about the dangers of smoking tobacco. The full 30-second commercial can be seen here.
E-cigarette explosion caught on camera
Speaking of viral videos, a convenience store camera recorded an e-cigarette exploding inside a man’s pocket last weekend, hospitalizing the customer when the battery malfunctioned. The man suffered severe burns to his leg.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of e-cigarettes exploding on their users, but serves as an important reminder of why we need to pass our $2-per-pack tax initiative, which also includes language to regulate these entirely uncontrolled products.
One last thing…
CMA will be attending the California Democrats State Convention this weekend, where we are excited to talk about our tobacco tax initiative with the event’s many guests. We’ll have more information for you on how that trip went inside next week’s update.
Chief Executive Officer
California Medical Association