Tobacco Interests Spent Over $51 Million in the Past Year to Exert Influence on California Legislative Policy and Elections

Apr 16, 2013, 12:00 ET from American Lung Association in California

Tobacco Money in Politics report exposes industry's political contributions for 2011-2012 legislative cycle.

SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 16, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Tobacco interests spent a total of $51.1 million during the 2011-2012 election cycle to fight Proposition 29 and to influence legislators and policies in California, according to a recent report by the American Lung Association in California Center for Tobacco Policy & Organizing.

"The numbers in this report are clear, Big Tobacco continues to use its vast financial resources to oppose bills and life-saving ballot initiatives that would benefit public health," said Jane Warner, President and CEO of the American Lung Association in California. "This fact, though disturbing, further inspires the American Lung Association in California and millions of Californians to stop the tobacco industry in its tracks. We are committed to preventing children from ever picking up their first cigarette, helping smokers quit and fighting the lung diseases that so often result from smoking. We will not relent until the public sees through the tobacco industry's smokescreen."

Tobacco Money in California Politics shows that tobacco interests contributed more than $46.5 million to political committees working to oppose Proposition 29 which would have prevented the deaths of more than 100,000 Californians from smoking related illnesses had it passed. Almost 70% of the $46.5 million came from Philip Morris, USA. Further, the industry also spent $2.1 million during this period to lobby the legislature on 14 different bills.

Tobacco Money in California Politics contains full details on which bills were lobbied by tobacco interests, and lists legislators and political committees who accepted contributions from the industry. Highlights include:

  • Philip Morris, USA, RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company, and the California Distributors Association spent more than $49 million in campaign contributions during the 2011-2012 election cycle.  
  • Of the 120 California state legislators, tobacco interests made campaign contributions to 57 members, or just under half of the total. This is in line with past election cycles.
  • Tobacco interests contributed to 5 of 36 new legislators. This number is a significant decrease from the previous election cycle where tobacco interests contributed to 12 of 31 new legislators, likely because few candidates backed by the tobacco industry were elected into office. 

A full copy of Campaign Contributions and Lobbying Expenditures of Tobacco Interests in California is available at

The Center for Tobacco Policy & Organizing is a project of the American Lung Association in California and funded by the California Department of Public Health. The Center assists local communities to address tobacco related policies using community organizing strategies, and provides policy information and analysis regarding tobacco related legislation and policy issues. To learn more about the American Lung Association in California call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit

Media Contact: Maria Bernabe, 310.735.9184,

SOURCE American Lung Association in California