It’s baffling that a campaign can be criticized for trying to elicit the truth from its opposition. The Yes on Prop 29 campaign has been trying to do that since the first Dr. La Donna Porter ad ran on television. We’ve asked why a doctor would side with the tobacco industry, whose products are responsible for the premature deaths of more than 433,000 Americans  every year.  We’ve asked how a doctor can be on a state board responsible for evaluating the safety of toxins in the environment, when she has publically sided not once, but twice, with one of the most toxic industries of all, Big Tobacco. And we’ve asked, time and time again, why the tobacco companies who are the sole financial contributors to the No on 29 campaign, refuse to stand up themselves to defend their opinions, rather than hide behind actors dressed as researchers. As a surgeon, I see the devastating effects of all forms of Tobacco products in my daily practice!

The truth is this: Big Tobacco has put in nearly $40 million dollars to defeat Prop 29 because they know Prop 29 will work. It will stop kids, their future addicted consumers, from ever beginning to smoke. It will help adult smokers quit. And it will mean millions in lost profits from their deadly products. We don’t doubt why the tobacco industry wants Prop 29 to fail, but a doctor? Doctors are supposed to act in the best interests of their patients, and to PREVENT harm to them. Why would a doctor side with an industry that spends $27 million nationally every day trying to hook children on smoking?  It’s perfectly fair, and indeed, it’s our responsibility, to point out that Dr. Porter’s role as a spokesperson for the tobacco industry directly conflicts with her responsibilities as a doctor.  She agreed to be a public representative, and must know what the consequences of her positions could be.

Dr. Porter’s advertisements are misleading on so many levels. First of all, the overwhelming majority of the medical community, including the California Medical Association, strongly supports Prop 29. Second, Prop 29 will raise approximately $735 million annually for cancer and other smoking –related disease research and tobacco control programs. The American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and American Lung Association wrote Prop 29 to save lives, keep kids from smoking and help find cures for tobacco related diseases.  The Yes on Prop 29 campaign might not have the money to match Big Tobacco, but it has something much more powerful on their side: the truth.