Firstly a few bits and pieces on California Proposition 29. I dug out a YouTube from 26 May where Stanton Glantz was answering a few questions about it. Back then (and it’s only a couple of weeks ago), according to him the polls were showing that Prop 29 was likely to win with 53% of the voters intending to vote Yes, and the multi-million dollar effort by tobacco companies wasn’t working.
He has no medical qualifications that I know of: he’s a mechanical engineer
Prop 29 is to increase the tobacco tax by $1. Back in 1988, Prop 99 increased it by 5 cents. So, the way I see it, that’s a huge increase.
Glantz also said that ‘economic modelling’ had suggested that Prop 29 would create 12,000 new jobs in California. I think that this naively assumes that if smokers don’t spend their money on tobacco, they’ll just spend it on something else. I think that what actually happens is that smokers stay home, and stop spending on everything, and buy their tobacco in the black market.
But the key bit for me came at 9 minutes and 19 seconds, when Glantz said about Prop 29:
“The effort here in California is absolutely crucial to the national and global tobacco control effort. Tobacco companies have successfully blocked a lot of tobacco taxes in recent years, here in California they blocked 33 efforts to increase the tobacco tax in the last 30 years. Prop 29 has become such a high profile battle that a victory here by the public health forces will empower people all over the country. More important though is that if smoking is cut as much as we think it will be California could within a few years become the first place to reach former surgeon-general Koop’s goal of a smoke-free society, and show the country and the world that you can essentially eliminate tobacco use as a public health problem in a very few years if you’re willing to implement the policies that we know will do it.”
I guess that means that losing Prop 29 will be an enormous setback for national and global Tobacco Control, and would dis-empower a great many people.
The last sentence was also, I thought, utopian (although he was being interviewed by Utopia News) megalomania. The man has delusions of grandeur.
And what does he mean by “we know will do it”? How does he know? They’ve never created a smoke-free society anywhere yet, so he has no real experience.
And I thought, when I first saw him, that he’d just woken up from an afternoon nap, and would fall asleep the moment the interview ended. But then I thought: he’s not half asleep, he’s stoned out of his head. The condition is, after all, quite familiar to me.
So how’s Prop 29 been doing since last Tuesday’s vote? According to this recent report, as the count of votes continues, Prop 29 looks set to lose. Also, smokervoter in California this morning sent me a couple of spreadsheet images of his that he’s been working on. He reckons prop 29 is going to lose too, on two different scenarios. Maybe he can explain in the comments.
Also of note, that I came across on Facebook, All Smoke and Mirrors, which lays into the new tobaccotactics website:
As a project of the TCRG, the TobaccoTactics.org website is either using funds hypothecated for research in tobacco control or it is not. If it is, then this is money and resources provided by various research councils, which are usually publicly funded, and embodies the use of research money for political attacks. If it is not, then the website is carrying the logo of the University of Bath and the name of the TCRG for no reason other than the echo of credibility they confer.
So which is it?