Editor, Ceres Courier,
Sorry, your math isn't any better than your reasoning. There are 17 ballot measures - not 16.
Prop 56 will save tens of thousands of lives and billions of dollars in healthcare costs ....and taxes.
Tobacco use inflicts immense damage on everybody - even if you don't smoke.
Tobacco costs Californians $13 billion a year in healthcare costs and another $10 billion a year in lost productivity.
Taxpayers not immune. California taxpayers spend nearly $4 billion a year treating Medi-Cal patients for tobacco-related disease.
Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death - killing more than 40,000 Californians a year. This is more than guns, alcohol, AIDS, car crashes and illegal drugs combined!
Raising the tax is the single most effective way to reduce tobacco use according to the U.S. Surgeon General, the World Health Organization and the Institute of Medicine. Yet CA has one of the lowest tobacco taxes in the nation. We're 37th among the 50 states. And one of only three states that has not raised its tobacco tax this century. Forty-seven other states have raised their taxes 130 times since we last raised our tax in 1998.
Long overdue measure to save lives, protect kids and save taxpayer dollars. And if you don't smoke - you don't pay.
Jim Knox ,
Vice President, Government Relations-California,
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Inc.
(Editor's note: The column did not justify nor endorse tobacco use but did express an opinion that the government has no right to add an unfair tax burden on legal products and that taxes are not a good or right way to modify behavior. Should we start adding excessive taxes on fast food, cars and guns to try to prevent deaths? Of course not).