Lance Armstrong campaigns for higher cigarette tax

Anti-smoking and anti-cancer advocate Lance Armstrong now appears to be moving full-time into cancer advocacy.

A couple of years ago, Lance campaigned pretty strongly for a smoking ban in Texas. He didn’t win that round, but since he started speaking out, several large cities in Texas have imposed smoking bans, in particular Houston and Dallas.

Now, Lance is campaigning in California for a $1 a pack tax in that state which would be directed specifically toward cancer research. California has a really low cigarette tax (surprisingly) at 87 cents a pack, which is considerably below the national average of about $1.50 a pack. California a few years ago also voted down a ballot initiative that would’ve raised its cigarette tax — after Big Tobacco spent tens of millions defeating it. Big Tobacco will spend a lot of money fighting this initiative, which should be placed on the ballot sometime in 2012. Why? Studies show that a $1 a pack increase will drive the smoking rate down roughly 10 percent. There’s roughly 4 million smokers in California. Big Tobacco is looking at losing 400,000 customers, spending roughly $1,000 to $2,000 a year on cigarettes, if this passes. It’s in Big Tobacco’s interests to spend money to fight the measure.

The measure would raise about $850 million a year. Hopefully, with the money directed specifically toward cancer research, California voters will do the right thing … and NOT listen to the propaganda that will be coming from Big Tobacco.

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