Monday, June 4, 2012

California : Prop 29 is About Cancer Research #CAPrimary

Rocks off Malibu

What can be better than fresh air and sunset?

Picture above shared via coding available at Flickr and allowed by Creative Commons License  Attribution (CC by 2.0). Thanks to  Flickr user Gtall1 who has no connection to this blog or blogger

California's Prop 29 is a tax on cigarettes that funds cancer research.

You wouldn't know that from the attacks ads on the proposition.

The largest opposition groups are related to cigarette manufacturers and their allies such as anti-tax groups , you know like the people who brought us Proposition 13 that continues to cripple our state in education and public services everyday of the year.

If you smoke, you need Proposition 29 because you are the most likely to end up  with the one of the most most deadly and swiftly forming of cancers

Lung cancer can spread quickly to the brain and both people who I knew learned within weeks of their diagnosis that the cancer had already spread to their brains. It was likely there before the diagnosis, and, in fact, both had suffered from personality changes that drove friends and family from their sides at a time when they needed them most.  Of course, those closest to them rallied around in the end, but the painful disruptions to their family and circle of friends in the time before their diagnosis was devastating to them as well. 

The organized opposition whines that the money doesn't have to be spent in California!

Yeah there's a reason for that.

California one of the most expensive places in the world in which to do medical research.  Remember the goal of Prop 29 is to be able to get the most medical research that will stop the plague of death surrounding a practice that you or a loved one may have acquired.


Some treatments are transferable between specific types of  cancer and a lot of palliative care can help with many forms of the disease.   Therefore Proposition 29 could help save others of your friends and family that develop other types of cancer.  I don't see anything in the writing on the ballot that says that the money from 29 is restricted to lung cancer.

Now if you're the person I hope you are, you don't subject your family to breathing trapped second hand smoke.  Kudos to you, and this comes from a person that grew up in a persistent fog of second hand smoke since cigarettes were cheap, the tobacco industry was still denying that they caused cancer, and the national government which brought us the Vietnam War let them do it.

Now the same greedy type of Tobacco People want you to vote against Proposition 29 because "it will not all be spent in California".  What they are worried about is people not buying as many cigarettes as before because of an extra tax on the products.  This would actually be the most likely to happen with young smokers.  AND THAT IS A GOOD THING!  To do anything to keep young people to from developing a heavy habit is possibly the best part about this bill.

Though she tried hard, my mom, who started smoking young at a time when no one knew what cigarettes would do, wasn't able to stop until clear messages came through that second-hand smoke was even deadlier than smoking.  In the end she stopped for her family.  She avoided lung cancer, but died of a heart attack and stent operation (a treatment that is no longer highly regarded as a cure and which was always extremely dangerous).   Heart disease is also often initiated and/or increased by tobacco use, especially the heavy long term  addiction like the one from which my mother suffered.

To keep the next young person from smoking as much as he or she thinks is cool or comes to crave, may, in itself save their lives and their relationships when they are older.  Both of the people I know who died of lung cancer started young and smoked until their diagnosis.  And it wasn't any easier for them to stop at that time, than it would have been earlier, and they both still had to deal with the inoperable cancer in their brains.  It was tough for all concerned.  Any method of keeping young people from getting addicted is therefore good.  And if you are a smoker it will help you too, to get rid of the habit or at least to reduce the impact of the toxic chemicals you get from your "smokes".


Even anti-tobacco groups have disliked other taxes on cigarettes because the state governments could use the money for other purposes than trying to help people who smoke or get cancer.  Many felt that it made state governments too reliant on the money they got from people buying cigarettes to do anything to help keep people from smoking or curing the health problems that smoking and tobacco products cause.

For instance,  a tax of 10 cents per pack was placed on cigarettes in 1959 for support of the general fund.

Proposition 10 passed in 1998 placed a $.50 tax on a pack of cigarettes to support early childhood education.

And even the funds from Proposition 99 passed in 1988 ($.25 a pack) to be  used for tobacco education and prevention efforts, tobacco related disease efforts also included  health care services for low income persons and environmental and recreational resources, and could be used to replace money from the general fund.  Some anti-smoking advocates say that dependency on  cigarette taxes that could be used to replace state funds, led the California government to a less proactive position on reducing smoking.

But Proposition 29 takes the money collected from the sale of cigarettes and puts it in the hands of a 9 person panel, rather than the CA legislature's budget process, so it should be safe from replacing general funds or usage on anything else than research on cancer and tobacco related diseases, and anti-tobacco programs.  It would also target other tobacco products with excise taxes that would go for prevention and or cure of diseases related to their use according to the Voter Guide.

This is not a tax the government will put to other uses, and then get addicted to.   In fact, the expectation is that the dollar intake by the fund will be reduced every year because of the relatively heavy excise tax imposed.

Proposition 29 is good for California, but especially  for you unless you're one of the 0% who will never have to worry about getting any kind of cancer, emphysema (both of which can be induced by smog, too) or other smoking or pollutant related illness.