Yes on Proposition 29!

by on May 21, 2012 · 12 comments

in California, Election, Health, Popular, The Widder Curry

Thirty-two months on the 21st of May my husband of 44 years passed away from Lung Cancer.  He began smoking while still in high school, and before he stopped smoking 34 years later, he admitted to smoking three packs of cigarettes a day.  I always wondered that if he admitted to smoking 3 packs a day, how many packs did he really smoke.

He would say that if he had known the evils of tobacco he probably would never had had that first puff. That’s what he would say, but is it the truth? Who knows?

He was a charming blue-eyed Irishman that frequently had a twinkle in his eye.  He was a leader, not a follower, and I suspect that if he thought it was “cool” to smoke, he would have smoked.  But there was no research like there is today; when he finally did stop smoking – 31 years BEFORE he died – he stopped because he finally believed what research was telling him.  He thought that by quitting smoking, he was prolonging his life, and the cause of death would never be “lung cancer.”

He was wrong.  But…in defense of the smoking lobby, it is not certain that cigarette’s caused his cancer.  He – and I – were both born and raised in the Los Angeles basin.  We told people that as soon as we could see the air we were breathing – (smog) – we moved. But we breathed that air for years – thirty-nine for him; twenty seven for me.

Another factor that might have caused his lung cancer was that, as a Principal opening up a new school, he helped the contractors close the asbestos laced ceilings so that school could open on time.  Yes, he would stand on a ladder with his head poked into the ceiling gluing tiles to the braces in the attic.  Any of these things could have caused his lung cancer – asbestos, smog, and, of course cigarettes.

When I heard that the tobacco industry was behind the “NO on Proposition 29” I immediately knew that I would do everything I could do defeat proposition 29.

And then I did some more research – I wanted to know who else was behind the “NO” propaganda.  After all, the television commercials show these physicians telling us not to pass the proposition.

I was amazed at the “partial listing” I found by googling “no on proposition 29” endorsers.  There are 117 small markets listed; 40 all-purpose gas stations; 15 police departments; 22 Chamber of Commerce’s; 11 Tax Payer Associations; 3 Water companies, and a few more that were singletons.   Why are we listening to the large tobacco companies, or to the shop owners that  stand to lose a great deal of money , with rhetoric that has no basis. Philip Morris Tobacco, R.J. Reynolds (using a variety of its conglomerates , is the money behind the “NO” campaign.

The biggest effect of Prop. 29 would be a dramatic drop in smoking. That’s why Big Tobacco is spending $80 million to fight it. The main tool: confusion and lies.

For instance, it’s not true that it lacks oversight. The research money would be managed by a committee consisting of the UCSF, UCB, and UCSC chancellors, cancer center directors and other experts and stakeholders. That’s written right into the text of Proposition 29. And it’s a red herring that the money won’t go to treatment. The money is going to PREVENTION: reducing smoking, a key cause of cancer; and funding research, a way to fight other causes of cancer.

Who are the main supporters of “YES” on Proposition 29? Here’s a partial list:

American Cancer Society; Lance Armstrong Foundation; American Heart Association; Michael Bloomberg ; American Lung Association ; Volunteers Organized for Community Empowerment; Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund; University of California/San Francisco Foundation ;  Cedars-Sinai Medical Center ; National Dialogue on Cancer Foundation and many more.

It seems to me that we can believe one group or the other. I for one will go along with the respected health groups over the tobacco industry and small businesses that stand to lose money if people stop smoking.   As Jim Knox, spokesman for the American Cancer Society states,

“ Using tobacco taxes to pay for cancer research makes sense. Tobacco use causes cancer. The connection is very direct.”

 I can only hope that a loved one of yours does not suffer the ravages  of lung cancer. Lung cancer is the most underfunded cancer of all of the cancers. There is little research being done as contrasted to the research for breast, prostate and other cancers.

Please join me in voting “YES” on Proposition 29. I only wish there had been more research done before Bob died. (It is interesting to note that since he died the scientists have discovered that a more thorough chest x-ray can determine at an early stage if lung cancer is present.  Bob – and most lung cancer patients – are not diagnosed until they are at STAGE 4. And there are very few survivors of a STAGE 4 diagnosis.)

Please–don’t succumb to the tobacco industry falsehoods.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda Shaner May 21, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Thank you for sharing..
I too trust the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association. I have also read what Prop 29 will do. Saving lives, keeping kids from smoking and funding research.
Big Tobacco is very good at putting up smoke screens but they are just a web of lies. Don’t be fooled..the opposition is worried about losing profits.
The organizations supporting Prop 29 care about lives..
Join me Vote Yes on Prop 29


judi Curry May 21, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Hello Linda. Don’t remember seeing your name before, so if this is the first time you’ve joined us, let me welcome you to the Ragster. I have a daughter that works for Kaiser. She called me today after reading the article and said that she was glad I posted it because she was really conflicted in making her decision until she realized what you and I had to say refuted the opponents of Prop. 29. Thank you for your post. I appreciate your taking the time to let others know just what it will do when it passes. Judi


Arnold McMunn May 22, 2012 at 5:10 pm

I am sorry for your loss. But that is not the issue with Proposition 29.

There is a simpler explanation why the “No on 29” campaign represents so-called “Big Tobacco”.
We the People of California who smoke don’t have the money for lobbyists.
This is why Pro 29 assumes the higher tax will result in Prohibition against The People.
The companies are representing Their Customers.

There are Twice as Many Non-Tobacco-Related cancer deaths than those among the smokers, and the Pro 29 supporters Refuse to tax themselves for ‘The Cure’. The rate of death from tobacco-related cancer is One Third of One Percent; 16,397 cancer deaths out of a State smoking population of 4.4 Million people.

The rate of death from non-tobacco-related cancer is roughly Two Thirds of One Percent; 39,018 non-tobacco-related cancer deaths out of a total State population of roughly 37 Million People.

There are Three times or more the number of New Cases of Non-Tobacco-Related Cancer, likely costing Our State that much more than the fewer cancers demonstrated by us smokers.

Source: The American Cancer Society “California Cancer Facts: 2012”. Please see Adobe Reader Page 3 of 40:

Tobacco-Related Cancer is Not the No. 1 cause of death among smokers*.
It is “Ischemic Heart Disease”, but the low number of deaths among the 4.4 Million smokers might just be due to Poverty. I don’t know, but I do Know that A Real Killer Has Much Higher Numbers than those blamed on Tobacco.

The No.1 cause of death in California among Non-Tobacco Users is/was “Non-Tobacco-Related Neoplasms”. The term “Neoplasm” is defined as ‘a Tumor’.

*Source The State of California Dept. of Public Health: Tobacco Control Board:

I live here and I smoke, and I do not like Misrepresentation of the facts. Not when the Pro 29’ers are Not Asking Us smokers for a donation. They are Demanding Our Money by depending on The Majority of Non-Tobacco Users to vote against their neighbors by their prejudices fostered by a media campaign portraying tobacco as a much greater threat than the number of deaths indicate.

And in spite of this behavior, No Free American should ever consider voting for a tax which the proponents Refuse to pay themselves, or for a tax which the voters will not be paying out of their own pockets.

Prop 29 will surely provide New Jobs and New Revenue for Mexico, at least from Southern California/San Diego.


Josh May 23, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Arnold, I’m not quite sure I understand your argument… and of course, I read all of your links. I understand, as you say, “Big Tobacco” is attacking prop29 in order to keep their market size, by keeping prices where they are, that make sense.  Although, “Big Tobacco” could drop prices by around two dollars and still make a profit, especially brand names.
 If I understand correctly, your argument is that cancer is not the leading cause of deaths in smokers and that because someone does not smoke, they should not even consider voting on this. I hope there is more to your decision than this, all Americans should, at least, consider voting on all propositions; if they feel like it doesn’t effect them, then they shouldn’t vote.  If you go ahead and read prop 29 you will find fighting cancer is only one of the things this tax will fight. The last thing you mention is also taken into consideration in the text, a specific percentage is given to funds which are designed to protect our country from the smuggling of tobacco, keeping jobs in America not Mexico. The first link you provided should help you understand the benefits of research, if you don’t already. Prop29 will not reverse the past, but it will definitely help the future. This is why several non smokers will donate to the  same fund and other funds to fight cancer and other diseases. This is also why several smokers are voting yes, they don’t mind saving lives at one dollar a pack.
If I am mistaken about your comment, please re-inform me.


judi Curry May 23, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Thanks for doing my homework for me, Josh. And…by the way…Happy Birthday tomorrow – Thursday.


Arnold McMunn May 24, 2012 at 5:07 pm

I seriously doubt that most smokers ‘do not mind’ being taxed out of reach of their cigarettes, and this appears to be the main reason that Prop 29 exists at all.
And Prohibition is not ‘research’.

And I do take issue with proposing taxes against the few by a majority who will not be paying the tax themselves, while proponents have a clear conflict of interest.
I didn’t know We the People behaved like that in California. Jumping our neighbors by Overtaxation for our personal costs. At best I thought We Shared the Burden.

If Research is important to The People, and as it will benefit The Majority of Non-Tobacco Cancer and Heart Patients, then why not consider a General Tax at a lower cost per citizen, to provide the same funds? Perhaps because The Majority of voters won’t vote for it when they themselves have to pay for it.

In New York, The American Cancer Society has pushed the taxes to the point that cigarettes are now $12 a pack, and they still want higher taxes. They wanted to do that in California in 2006 with a $2.60 a pack tax and that measure nearly passed.
I’m not going to stay here watching Our State Constitution become a thing of garbage in the hands of Others.

Authoritarian Government is not California.


Josh May 25, 2012 at 12:24 am

Arnold, I feel again you are mistaken. The National Cancer Act of 1971 was voted in by the people, this act still is providing funds today. NCI (National Cancer Institute) receives around 4.9 billion dollars yearly from our general funds, this means there is a general tax and the majority of voters did vote for it, even though it raised the overall tax rate for them. Actually, Nixon told all Americans “There must be a national commitment in order to conquer cancer,” seconds before signing the Act.
 If you are truly opposed to “proposing tax against the few by a majority who will not be paying the tax themselves,” then you are also be opposed to even considering voting on a tax for the extremely wealthy; unless of course,you are extremely wealthy.  This logic is not what Democracy intended. Several bills and regulatory taxes are voted in by Americans that do not pay the tax, but are affected by only the bill or regulation itself. Nuclear emission taxes, toxic and non-toxic disposal taxes, regulatory bank taxes and commercial fishing regulations are some of the many things that all Americans should consider voting on, yes or no; even if you don’t own a nuclear plant or a commercial fishing boat. Are you suggesting my grandmother ‘should not’ vote down prop 29because she is not involved in paying the tax, because she does not smoke?
 I don’t quite understand how you mix up prohibition, research and a tax.  There has been a proposed tax, not a restriction or regulation criminalizing tobacco, just a tax. I have talked to several smokers recently, asking them if they would stop smoking after the dollar increase, only one said she would [try].  The tax will fund research, while an obvious side benefit will be the drastic decrease of new smokers. It’s purpose is to promote more research, as well as enhance education and other funds, not prohibition. 
 I also wish the tax wasn’t pushed onto you, I’d prefer big tobacco to help pay for the research themselves, but big tobacco blocks any proposition that directly taxes them. So we have to tax the seller, who then passes the tax onto you. 
  If you cut back % 16.5 you will not notice the %16.5 tax increase and you will be donating to a good cause. I hope you can understand. Thank you.


Josh May 22, 2012 at 10:33 pm

At first I felt much different than you Grandma. I am always very cautious in any vote. I was actually not going vote on this because I did not have much time to read an issue, I originally, felt had little impact on me.  After talking to you about prop 29, I thought about how it would directly effect people I love dearly.
 Now I had lots of reading to do, or so I thought; prop 29 is only sixteen pages long. It is a very well written proposition. Unlike several other texts I have read, 100% of money is accounted for, distributing it to four different funds.
 After reading the text, I still didn’t feel I was ready to vote yes on 29. I asked myself, “how much tax is enough”; although, I’m not like the republicans who pledged not to raise any taxes, so I always leave room for reason. 
 Reading the text, I noticed that their was nowhere that mandates the tax to be paid by smokers. It only says that the seller must pay the tax, so actually, it is the seller who passes the tax to the consumer. I feel this “passing of the tax” is an attempt to weaken our will to vote and silence our opinion.  It is much easier to tax a tobacco distributor than to tax a friend or family member, even when it’s helping them. 
 Cigarettes are cheap to produce on a large scale, about 1.8 cents a piece after the warehouses are built. Some estimate that after overhead it can reach a whopping 4cents. This leaves more than two dollars of profit per pack, for an addictive product!  If the seller wants to sell the product for cheaper, they should ask big tobacco for a price break.  
 It is nearly obvious that if there was more money for research more cures would be found faster so I don’t feel the need to elaborate. Cigarette companies make billions and kill millions, I see no reason to stop protecting my family in order to protect their billions.
 So, not only will I vote yes on 29, I will be vocal about my vote. I will provide others with, and explain the data and facts that created my stance. I will even discuss my stance with smokers, for it is them we will be voting for.


OB Library Lover May 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm

How refreshing to read such an articulate and thoughtful article. You know that I agree with you, for some of the same reasons and similar life experiences. Your critic apparently does not understand the pernicious effect that addictive nicotine can have. Quitting smoking was one of the hardest things I ever did; my mind played all kinds of games on me. Many years after quitting, I woke up sobbing because in my dream, I had smoked a cigarette. My brain is permanently hard wired for smoking. How much better never to start!
Dear Judi,
Thank you.


judi Curry May 23, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Thanks, Judy. I get the feeling that some feel that smoking is ok; that it won’t affect them. Proud of you for giving it up!


Josh May 23, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Thanks. I also wanted to say I got six pledges from smokers for yes votes for 29,on my first day of my independent campaign… And as always several Obama pledges, and a few republicans converted to democrats. Love You Grandma


jamesjm May 24, 2012 at 5:45 am

Big Tobacco has spent $40,000,000 thus far to fight P29. It could have been donated to children’s education and health care. Instead the tobacco syndicate earmarks it towards their lawyers and spin machines.

The tobacco industry is an ugly evil empire that deals in addiction, pain and death throughout the world – nothing else.

I support Lance Armstrong and strongly endorse P29. Vote Yes.


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