Tobacco Tax Supporters Plan New Push for Cigarette Tax

Advocates Emboldened by Steinberg's Comments

Sacramento, CA (July 23, 2013)

Supporters of a bill that will raise the state's cigarette tax to boost Medi-Cal and reduce teenage smoking are stepping up the campaign in support of legislation sponsored by Senator Kevin DeLeon (D-Los Angeles) after recent comments by Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) noting this chamber would consider tax increases next year.

SB 768 would increase the cigarette tax by $2 per pack. The $1.2 billion in funds from the increase would be directed to California’s health care programs and the state's efforts to reduce smoking.

"We are encouraged that the Legislature will move forward on this common-sense measure to help fund our state's health care programs, increase health care access, and fund a highly-successful program to reduce smoking," said Jane Warner, President and CEO of the American Lung Association in California. "Polls continue to show strong support for raising the cigarette tax despite the millions spent by Big Tobacco. We're optimistic lawmakers will move forward with this measure so we can continue to sustain our state's leadership efforts to reduce teen smoking and save lives."

The legislation is backed by a coalition that includes the American Lung Association in California, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, SEIU and Health Access California. The groups say they will step up their lobbying and public awareness campaigns in the remaining months of this year's legislative session.

In the interview, Steinberg said the Senate would consider tax measures next year. “I look forward to having a good debate about a number of those measures in 2014 and supporting some of them,” Steinberg said.

#     #     #