Prop 29: Few California voters aware the State has one of
nation’s lowest tobacco taxes, according to TobaccoFree.org

Grandson of RJ Reynolds appears in 11th hour TV spot
informing voters that 32 States have higher tobacco taxes than CA’s

 

-- For immediate release –

 

Contact: Christine Hou, Tobaccofree.org

Office (310) 577-9828, Cell (310) 880-1111

 

LOS ANGELES, June 5, 2012 Prop 29: Few Californians are aware that cigarettes in the State actually cost less, says TobaccoFree.org. The group's Executive Director is Patrick Reynolds, a grandson of tobacco company founder RJ Reynolds and an impassioned tobaccofree advocate. Since the spot was posted on YouTube on May 31st it has had 14,500 views.

Reynolds says voters who know that cigarettes are cheaper in California are more likely to vote yes in today's election on Proposition 29, California's ballot measure providing for a $1 tobacco tax hike.

As Reynolds speaks in the spot, a list of 32 State tobacco taxes, all higher than California’s, scrolls up. The list includes New York ($4.35), Connecticut ($3.40), Rhode Island ($3.46), and Alaska, Arizona, Maine, Maryland and Michigan, all $2.

One title remains static onscreen as the list scrolls: California 87 cents -- far below the national average of $1.46. Reynolds has posted the spot on YouTube and offered it to the Prop 29 campaign, in hopes they will post it at their website. The tobacco industry is spending over $40 million on ads to stop the tax.

In the spot, Reynolds says, “A higher tobacco tax means fewer young people will start smoking, and more smokers will quit – and we’ll all save on future health care costs.” The spot was produced by Reynolds' group, Tobaccofree.org.

At a press conference he gave on Friday, Reynolds told an AP photographer, CNN, Fox, KABC Radio and other broadcast press, "I want people to make a more informed decision about Prop 29, and most don't realize we have one of the lowest tobacco taxes in the nation. Getting a future measure on the ballot will cost millions, and as to the Legislature, a two-thirds vote is required to pass any new tax. So if Prop 29 fails, we won't have this opportunity again for years. For over a decade, our Legislature has not increased our tobacco tax, while 47 other States have. If passed, California's tobacco tax will move from 33rd place to 16th among the States."

Reynolds is hoping that video or audio from his spot will be included in broadcast news coverage of Prop 29 today.

“Some in Sacramento have taken a pledge of no new taxes. It's a foolish ideology in the case of tobacco taxes. Lawmakers need more pragmatism and less ideology in order to create good policy. And a number of legislators who do not suport a tobacco tax hike have taken campaign contributions from the tobacco industry.”

 

“On June 5th, voters have a rare chance to make the decision themselves. If passed, Prop 29 will move California’s tobacco tax from 33rd place to 16th among the States. I am proud to stand with the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, American Heart Association and numerous prominent leaders and advocates to support this critical measure,” Reynolds says. He is acting as a private citizen volunteer.


Reynolds is working independently from the official Prop 29 campaign.   If passed, the measure will save 104,000 lives, stop 228,000 kids from smoking, and direct $735 million into life-saving cancer research, and also youth smoking prevention and cessation programs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download the TV spot in broadcast resolution:  www.Tobaccofree.org/prop29/    

 

YouTube url: http://youtu.be/LKnXHrtEtjU

 

Both versions have excellent audio.

 

Press may contact Patrick Reynolds for individual interviews through Election Day, June 5th.

 

 

Contact: Christine Hou, Tobaccofree.org
Office (310) 577-9828
Cell (310) 880-1111