Tobacco battle is far from over

Published: Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 - 7:36 am

Fifty years ago, a landmark surgeon general report began reducing tobacco-related diseases and deaths. Today, two-thirds of the nation’s population is protected from secondhand smoke’s deadly toxins, thanks to smoke-free laws. The national smoking rate has been halved. But California’s tobacco battle is not over: 1. California invests just 14 percent of what is recommended on tobacco prevention programs - with Big Tobacco’s California ad spending outpacing prevention expenditures by a 9-to-1 ratio. 2. Two-thirds of the states have higher tobacco taxes than California, and there is a proven correlation between tobacco tax rates and a decline in smoking and its deadly, addictive effects. Some 37,000 Californians die annually from smoking. 3. The state’s high school students smoke at a higher rate - 14 percent - than adults. Without a reduction, 440,000 of California’s sons and daughters will die prematurely from smoking. Join the American Cancer Society in this fight. -- Scott Okamoto, Sacramento, Volunteer Legislative Ambassador, American Cancer Society, Cancer Action Network

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