The election results have trickled in over the last two weeks in the Prop 29 election. Today, it was determined that we simply didn’t get the votes we needed to pass the California Cancer Research Act. This vote is going down in history as the most closely contested state ballot initiative to date. The cancer community has suffered a loss and we don’t like to lose.
The full weight of money in politics was in force here. Big Tobacco spent $50 million to obscure facts and common sense with what was a proposed $1 tax on a pack of cigarettes. California will now continue to rank 33rd in the country regarding tobacco taxation and still hasn’t raised its tobacco tax in 14 years. This is a setback for cancer control, an assault on cancer survivors and a missed opportunity for the improved health of families. A solid and sound initiative was defeated.
We are outraged at the tobacco industry’s ability to influence public policy in their favor, decade after decade. How much longer will people sit idly by and allow this happen to the detriment of our loved ones and our health? How do we best learn from this fight in looking at next steps? This Foundation will continue taking an active and outspoken role to advance patients’ rights at home and around the globe. We are already hard at work on our efforts to champion the passage of smoke-free legislation in Texas next year and are hopeful about its chances.
The partnership coalition fought well and we are appreciative of the investments in time and capital that has made this fight as tight as it has been. The American Cancer Society, in particular, provided extraordinary leadership.
What’s next, you might ask? You can count on us to seek out the opportunity with the greatest potential for serving the community and advocating for the patient’s voice wherever we are. Onward and upward.