By Anastasia Landeros
Everyone knows the commercial.
A young woman stands at a liquor store counter and hands over some money in exchange for a pack of cigarettes. The clerk tells her that it won’t be enough so she gently peels the skin off her cheeks and places it on the counter.
It’s gross and, if you’re like most people watching, an audible “Ew” escapes as the narrator warns “What’s a pack of smokes cost? Smooth skin.”
Now, that pack of cigarettes could cost smooth skin plus an extra $2 if voters pass Proposition 56 in November. Voting yes on Prop. 56 would amend the current tobacco tax to increase the tax on cigarettes by $2 per pack.
Other tobacco products and e-cigarettes will also be subjected to the $2 tax with an estimated total revenue of more than $1 billion by 2018.
Despite what the No on Prop. 56 ads are saying, that money will go toward increasing the workforce in the medical field, educating kids on the dangers of tobacco and nicotine use, and strengthening Medi-Cal and the California Department of Health Care Services’s existing health care programs.
The No on Prop. 56 ads are paid for by Philip Morris USA Inc. and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Philip Morris USA Inc.’s brands include Marlboro and Virginia Slims, while R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company produces Newports and Camels.
It’s easy to see why the No on Prop. 56 stance is hard to take seriously.
As it is, California has one of the lowest tobacco taxes in the country at just 87 cents per pack.New York holds the highest at a whopping $4.35 per pack.
The state of California is missing out on a substantial amount of money, even with raising the tax by just $2.
Although monetary gain is a large portion of why this proposition should be passed, keeping California families healthy and safe should be the biggest reason. Tobacco causes numerous health risks to smokers, their families and those around them when they choose to light up.
The more than 7,000 chemicals and chemical compounds found inside tobacco products have been proven to cause cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and numerous other health problems.
According to the 2014 “Surgeon General’s Reports on Smoking and Health,” no amount of tobacco is a safe amount and damage from inhaling tobacco smoke is almost immediate.
Since 1964, when the first “Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health” was released, 20 million people had already died because of tobacco use. Of those 20 million people, 2.5 million were non-smokers who died of secondhand smoke pollution.
If this information doesn’t deter tobacco users from attempting to quit, they can pay the price, literally, for harming themselves and those around them.
For more information on how to quit smoking, visit Smokefree.Gov.