The California Cancer Research Act, Proposition 29 on June’s ballot, will provide a positive jolt to California’s economy.
Why? Because the $1 cigarette tax increase, combined with 20 cents allocated to reinvigorating California’s anti-smoking program, will help so many people quit smoking that they’ll spend a billion dollars less a year on cigarettes.
And $800 million of that billion which is now being sent out of state to Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds and other tobacco interests will stay here in California creating almost $2 billion in new economic activity and 12,000 new jobs.
Less smoking will also mean less disease and lower health care costs. If Prop 29 passes, it will save an estimated $32 billion in health care costs over the next 5 years, much of which will be saved by California taxpayers and all of which will be saved by California citizens and businesses.
And the other 80 cents the tax will raise? That will be used to support cancer and other medical research to clean up the mess that the tobacco companies create.
The only loser if Prop 29 will be the big out-of-state tobacco companies, which is why they are pouring tens of millions of dollars into California to block Prop 29. They ignore the fact that the cancer, heart disease and breast cancer research already being funded by existing California cigarette taxes is all being done in California and are claiming that Prop 29 is a boondoggle because it does not require that the new research be done in California. They are afraid to use the real reason that they are opposing Prop 29 – to keep that $800 million a year flowing out of California smoker’s pockets to Big Tobacco back east.
Bottom line: Prop 29 is good for Californians’ health and the health of the state’s economy.
Stanton A. Glantz’s economic analysis is available here.