SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. April 19, 2012 - Taking a stand against Big Tobacco and the deadly campaign the companies wage against school-age children, teachers and educators joined with volunteers, concerned citizens and parents today at Rosa Parks Elementary School in San Francisco to tell Big Tobacco that enough is enough: Big Tobacco’s big lies will no longer be tolerated.
They encouraged citizens to vote Yes on Proposition 29, the initiative that will increase California’s cigarette tax by $1 a pack to fund research and tobacco prevention programs.
"I'm here to tell you today that Proposition 29 doesn’t reduce school funding by one nickel. That’s why the California State PTA, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and school boards and school districts across California support it,” said Carol Kocivar, President of the California State PTA. “Proposition 29 raises money for cancer research and will help keep kids from smoking. We believe it is important to prevent youth and young adults from starting a harmful habit that impacts everyone.”
Education leadership and institution across California support Prop 29 because they know the truth: this initiative doesn’t have any impact on school funding, but it will help keep kids from Big Tobacco’s deadly poison.
“Nine out of 10 smokers start as teen-agers, so students are the key to smoking prevention. Unfortunately, the Surgeon General has warned that we’ve reached a stalemate in the fight to curb smoking among teens and young adults,” said Tom Torlakson, superintendent of public instruction. "Proposition 29 will help turn things around, and help keep our children healthy – by keeping them from smoking in the first place. This June, don't listen to Big Tobacco. Listen to the California State PTA, the Surgeon General, the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association and the American Heart Association and vote yes to save lives."
Raising the cost of cigarettes by $1 a pack will save 104,000 lives and stop 228,000 kids from smoking. In addition to keeping kids from smoking in the first place, Proposition 29 will fund cancer research and may lead to a cure.
"Prevention efforts must focus on young adults. According to the Surgeon General almost no one starts smoking after age 25. Nearly 9 out of 10 smokers started by age 18," said Richard Carranza, Deputy Superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District. "We support prevention efforts that effectively stop our children from ever smoking a cigarette."
According to a recent report from the US Surgeon General, Big Tobacco spends almost $30 million a day on advertising and marketing. The report also states that more than 600,000 middle school students and 3 million high school students smoke cigarettes. Furthermore, 34,000 kids start smoking every year.
“Every year, 34,000 kids start smoking. Yes on Prop 29 will give young people the tools they need to say no to smoking,” said Norman Yee, President of the San Francisco Board of Education. “Vote yes on Prop 29 this June.”
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 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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