PHILADELPHIA — Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of premature death in the United States. It causes no fewer than 18 different types of cancer and is responsible for nearly a third of all cancer deaths. Every conceivable method should be employed to combat this preventable epidemic, and that is why the American Association for Cancer Research strongly supports Proposition 29, The California Cancer Research Act.
We know that the best way to prevent people from dying from cancer is simply to prevent them from using tobacco in the first place, and by increasing the tobacco tax by $1 per pack on cigarettes, that is what Proposition 29 would help achieve. Evidence shows that increasing taxes on tobacco is one of the most effective ways to prevent youth smoking and help smokers to quit; for every 10 percent increase in the cost of cigarettes, it is estimated that there is a 7 percent decline in youth smoking and a 3 to 5 percent decline in overall cigarette consumption.
Even the most successful efforts in tobacco control, however, won’t prevent the onslaught of illness and death that will result from current tobacco use. The delay in the onset of disease caused by tobacco means that what is done — or not done — today will directly and dramatically impact public health for decades to come.
By investing 60 percent of proceeds from the tobacco tax into biomedical research, Proposition 29 is a forward-thinking plan that would spur scientific innovation and accelerate lifesaving discoveries to patients suffering from cancer and other smoking-related illnesses.
By supporting Proposition 29, The California Cancer Research Act, voters can make California a model for the rest of the country and help bring us closer to a tobacco-free world.