December 08, 2014
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy Public Health
The California Medical Association (CMA) has been a tireless advocate for stronger restrictions on the tobacco industry for decades. This weekend, the CMA House of Delegates (HOD) continued that tradition, adopting five antismoking resolutions. The resolutions address increasing the legal age for tobacco sales, the use of electronic cigarettes and a tobacco-free military.
Resolution 104-14 asks CMA to support the removal of the tobacco control pre-emption from the California Penal Code so that local governments would have the ability to increase the legal age of tobacco sales to 21.
Resolutions 101-14, 102-14 and 103-14 address the sales, advertising regulation and taxation of electronic cigarettes. These resolutions seek legislation to ban the usage of electronic cigarette devices in public places, ban advertising of electronic cigarettes and to urge state government to tax these items to generate funds to support research into their efficacy as smoking cessation aids, the health impacts of electronic cigarettes and for education.
Resolution 105-15 asks CMA to support the concept of a tobacco-free military, including ending sales on military bases and establishing smoke-free military installations and to refer this for national action.
These resolutions come at a time when CMA is dedicating itself to smoking cessation in the state in an effort to save lives and taxpayer money. Last week CMA announced it had joined an unprecedented coalition of health care groups seeking to increase the tobacco tax by $2-per-pack by the end of 2016 to save lives and to defray the cost of diseases caused by smoking.
Called the Save Lives California coalition, other members include the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, SEIU California, Health Access California and the California Hospital Association. The group will seek an increase in tobacco taxes either through legislation or ballot measure.
It is hoped that a tax increase will lower the cost of providing care to smokers in the state. A recent study on California’s tobacco use by the University of California at San Francisco School of Nursing’s Institute for Health and Aging found that smoking costs $18.1 billion in California – $487 for each resident, or $4,603 per smoker – in direct health care costs and indirect costs from lost productivity due to illness and premature death.
By increasing tobacco taxes the group hopes to save more than 100,000 lives per year, prevent more than 150,000 young people from ever smoking and save billions in health care dollars on tobacco-related diseases.