Biz supports tobacco tax

Stand Up To Cancer behind ballot initiative

(March 22, 2011)

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March 22, 2011

The Entertainment Industry Foundation's Stand Up to Cancer program has thrown its support behind a California ballot initiative to add a $1-per-pack tax on cigarettes to fund cancer research and tobacco prevention programs.

The initiative could be placed on the June ballot depending on whether a statewide special election is called. If not, it would be on the California primary ballot in February 2012.

Laura Ziskin, co-founder of Stand Up to Cancer, said researchers are in great need of additional funding, as cuts are made to federal research budgets. The California Cancer Research Act, as it is called, would generate about $855 million in the first year, with a decline of about 3% each year after that, according to the initiative's supporters.

Among those supporting the measure are Livestrong founder Lance Armstrong, former State Sen. Don Perata, the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Assn., the American Heart Assn. and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

It's expected that tobacco and cigarette companies will campaign to defeat the measure, and the head of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. has already expressed its opposition.