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Supporters Of California Cigarette Tax Measure Lash Out At Big Tobacco

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OAKLAND (KCBS) – Supporters of a June ballot measure that would levy a dollar per pack tax on cigarettes sold in California are speaking out against the tobacco industry-supported No on 29 ads.

Health professionals gathered at Children’s Hospital Oakland this weekend and argued that the ads, which are airing on KCBS and other broadcast stations, are attempting to confuse voters by featuring a family doctor urging a No on 29 vote.

Harvard University Dr. Jonathan Winickoff said they are deceptive because the tax money would go towards research into the prevention and treatment of cancer.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

“Their only hope is to try to confuse the public,” he said. “But despite the vast resources of big tobacco, they don’t vote in California, the people do.”

Dr. Cathy McDonald with the Alameda County Tobacco Dependence Treatment Program said prevention programs supported by the tax will also prevent children from taking up the habit.

“Here in California, we have missed 14 opportunities to raise tobacco taxes because the tobacco industry knows they must replace those who are quitting and dying with our youth,” said McDonald.

Tobacco companies have spent $23 million on the No on 29 campaign so far. Supporters of the bill, whose main endorsers include the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, have spent about $4 million.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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