Cancer Advocates Mark Great American Smokeout by Urging Californians to Support a $2 Per Pack Tobacco Tax Increase

Nov 17, 2015, 13:14 ET from American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Cancer patients and survivors are celebrating the American Cancer Society's 40th annual Great American Smokeout tomorrow, November 19, 2015, by calling on Californians to support its efforts to advance a $2 per pack tobacco tax increase.

As the Society's advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is a proud member of the Save Lives California coalition, which along with philanthropist Tom Steyer, has submitted an initiative to the State Attorney General's office to increase the tobacco tax. 

Field Poll results released two weeks ago show overwhelming support for taxing and regulating electronic cigarettes with nearly three in four California voters (74%) favoring taxing e-cigarettes and vaping products to fund public education, research and law enforcement around tobacco products.  A sizable majority of Californians also correctly view e-cigarettes as a danger to public health (71%).

"A tobacco tax is a win-win for the state," said ACS CAN California Vice President, Government Relations Jim Knox. "In addition to increasing revenue, we know that consistent and significant increases in tobacco taxes mean fewer tobacco users, fewer tobacco-related deaths and fewer youth who ever start the deadly addiction."

Studies from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health show that 90 percent of smokers start as teens.  In California, 21,000 kids get hooked on smoking every year.  According to Tobacco Free Kids, 441,000 children now under 18 and alive in California will ultimately die prematurely from smoking.

California's cigarette tax of only 87 cents a pack is currently one of the lowest in the nation.  Every state in the country except Missouri has raised its cigarette tax since California's last hike in 1998. 

"The Society's Great American Smokeout is about helping people quit, and we know state funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs is critical to helping people do just that," said ACS CAN California's newly appointed Grassroots Director Lori Bremner.  "Most adult tobacco users want to quit, but they need to have access to proven lifesaving programs to help them quit."

The American Cancer Society launched the Great American Smokeout 40 years ago as a platform to encourage smokers to quit.  ACS CAN works to not only encourage tobacco users to make a plan to quit, but also to encourage all Americans to advocate for comprehensive smoke-free laws, increased tobacco excise taxes and increased funding for tobacco cessation programs.

ACS CAN works in partnership with state policymakers across the country to ensure that tobacco use is addressed through a comprehensive approach including 1) raising the price of tobacco products, 2) implementing comprehensive smoke-free policies and 3) fully funding and sustaining evidenced-based, statewide tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

The use of tobacco products remains the nation's number one cause of preventable death, killing more than 480,000 Americans and costing $289 billion in health care costs and lost productivity annually. In California, tobacco is responsible for 44,000 deaths each year. States with comprehensive tobacco control programs experience faster declines in cigarette sales, smoking prevalence and lung cancer incidence and mortality than states that do not invest in these programs.

Click here for a variety of Great American Smokeout graphics and helpful tips on how to quit smoking.

Paid for by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Inc., the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit


SOURCE American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)