But this has always been about the money – if governments were really concerned about tobacco and health they would simply have banned tobacco products.
With California voters poised to vote next week on a tobacco tax hike, a new federal study concludes that the state has used relatively little of the billions of dollars in tobacco money it already takes in to prevent kids from smoking or to help smokers quit.
Between 1998 and 2010, just 6 percent of the money collected from a massive lawsuit settlement and from cigarette taxes went to tobacco interdiction and education programs, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last week, far below federal spending guidelines for effectively curbing tobacco use.
The report has provided fuel for both sides of the pitched debate over a June 5 ballot measure that would more than double the state tax on a pack of cigarettes. The money would pay for tobacco-related disease research and anti-smoking programs and go to fight illicit tobacco sales.