By: Lindsay Coate
Join us to Save Lives!
The Yuba Sutter Colusa Medical Society and the CMA have joined the Save Lives Coalition which has introduced the California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016. This is a ballot initiative to increase California’s cigarette tax by $2 per pack, with an equivalent increase in the tax on other tobacco products like chew and e-cigarettes. Save Lives California is a coalition of doctors, dentists, healthcare workers and advocates dedicated to saving thousands of lives and millions of dollars in California by reducing smoking rates. Members include the American Lung Association in California, American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the California Medical Association, California Dental Association, Service Employees International Union and Blue Shield of California, among others, all dedicated to passing the ballot measure.
Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of premature disease and death in California and in the United States. While the prevalence of cigarette smoking among adults has declined from 42% in 1965 to 16% in 2015, more than 42 million Americans still smoke. Furthermore, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that ninety percent of smokers start as teens. In California, 21,000 kids get hooked on smoking every year, and half of them will die from tobacco-related illnesses. Unfortunately, the decline in the prevalence of smoking has slowed in recent years and that burden of smoking-attributable morbidity and mortality is expected to remain at high and unacceptable levels for decades to come unless urgent action is taken.
Physicians need to work together to accelerate and sustain what works such as hard-hitting media campaigns, smoke free air policies, optimal tobacco excise taxes, and barrier-free cessation treatment. At the same time, we need to explore other strategies that support the goal of eliminating tobacco smoking. Let’s make tobacco-related disease and death a thing of the past.
California’s cigarette tax of only 87 cents a pack is currently one of the lowest in the nation. California has not increased its tobacco tax since 1998 and is spending over $9 billion every year on healthcare treatment of tobacco-related diseases. California taxpayers are paying $3 billion of those dollars each year to pay for treatment of Medi-Cal patients with tobacco-related illnesses.
Please join our growing movement of Californians committed to saving lives through expanded
access to healthcare, tobacco use prevention, and research into new treatments and cures for
cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other tobacco-related diseases.
This initiative can only be successful if we each commit to signing the petition ourselves as well as gathering valid signatures from among our friends, families, and co-workers. Our medical society is committed to helping with this process. We play an important role in gathering a significant portion of the roughly 700,000 signatures necessary to qualify for the November 2016 ballot. Every signature we gather helps us show Big Tobacco that we have not given up and that we will continue to fight for a tobacco-free California!
You must sign the ballot in person. Please make an appointment to come to the YSCMS office in Rocklin or you can make an appointment for Megan Sharpe, our Physician Relations and Communications Manager, to visit your office. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 916-630-7030 to set up an appointment. If you are interested, we also have petitions so you can gather signatures yourself.
Please join us. Together we can save lives!