Mayor Villaraigosa and Lance Armstrong Urge Yes on Prop 29

The initiative on the June 5 ballot will increase cigarette tax by $1 a pack to fund cancer research

By LatinoLA Contributor
Published on LatinoLA: May 21, 2012

Mayor Villaraigosa and Lance Armstrong Urge Yes on Prop 29

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined Lance Armstrong and other health advocates to urge Californians to vote Yes on Proposition 29, the initiative on the June 5 ballot that will increase the cigarette tax by $1 a pack.

"We've worked hard to improve the health of our community and we need to take the next step. Prop 29 will save lives, keep our kids from smoking, and fund cancer research that may just lead us to cures," said Mayor Villaraigosa. "I am so proud to stand with Lance Armstrong and others to support this landmark measure."

According to a recently released report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California is one of only three states that have not raised taxes on cigarettes in the last decade, making the passage of Prop 29 even more critical to fund life-saving research and to help keep kids from smoking.

"This is not the time for us to sit back and wait for change," said Lance Armstrong, seven time Tour de France champion and cancer survivor. "That's why we are continuing to raise money to combat Big Tobacco's lies. What we have raised won't match the tens of millions of dollars spent by Big Tobacco to spread their lies, but it's a start. And, I'm happy to announce that we now have three ads running that will ensure that California voters hear the truth. They are called 'Smokescreen,' 'Beat Cancer,' and 'Who do you trust.'"

According to a recent report from the US Surgeon General, Big Tobacco spends more than $27 million a day nationally on advertising and marketing and nearly 90 percent of smokers smoke their first cigarette by age 18. In California, 34,000 kids start smoking every year.

"The predatory marketing strategies from Big Tobacco aim to addict our kids to tobacco products, compromising their health for hefty profits," said Roman J. Bowser, Executive Vice President and CEO of the American Heart Association Western States Affiliate. "Passing Prop 29 is more critical than ever if we want to keep future generations from becoming addicted to tobacco."

"We are proud to stand with Mayor Villaraigosa, Lance Armstrong and so many other Californians in support of Prop 29 who agree that the time is now to take a stand against cancer," said Jane Warner, president and CEO of the American Lung Association in California. "City and state leaders should see that this is good for California. It's good for our economy, our health, our children and our future."

"Prevention is key to saving more lives. Big tobacco spends more than $1 million an hour on advertising and marketing and every year 34,000 kids start smoking. Ninety percent of all smokers start as teenagers, which is both heartbreaking and preventable," said David F. Veneziano, CEO of the American Cancer Society, California Division. "Proposition 29 will stop 228,000 kids from smoking and help find a cure for cancer."

"As a doctor, there is no question that I support Prop 29. Tobacco related illnesses, especially cancer, affect everyone," said Dr. David B. Agus, Director of the USC Westside Cancer Center. "When it comes to taxing tobacco, California is not keeping pace with the rest of the country. If passed, Prop 29 will reverse this troubling trend and provide vital funding towards advances in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer, heart disease and other smoking-related illnesses."

Prop 29, an initiative on the June 5 primary ballot, will raise the cost of a pack of cigarettes by $1 and dedicate those new funds to cancer and other life-saving research and smoking cessation efforts. Written by the American Cancer Society in California, the American Heart Association, Western States Affiliate and the American Lung Association in California, Prop 29 is supported by the Lance Armstrong Foundation and doctors, scientists and researchers throughout California.

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