A study from federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that California has used relatively little of its billions of dollars in tobacco-related revenue to pay for programs that help smokers quit or prevent kids from smoking.
In the 13 years that ended in 2010, the state collected nearly $244 billion from tobacco taxes and a massive settlement with tobacco companies, and spent just $8 billion for tobacco prevention and cessation programs – about one-third of the amount recommended by the federal government in guidelines for curbing tobacco use.
In 2003, the state used tobacco industry settlement payments as collateral on bonds to help close the general fund deficit, thereby committing the limited-term revenue to ongoing spending.
The report was issued shortly before voters will go to the polls to decide the fate of Proposition 29, which would increase California's tobacco taxes by $1 per pack of cigarettes, and would dedicate the revenue to a new bureaucracy that would be created by the measure. (Source: The Sacramento Bee, May 29.)
June 1, 2012
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