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Why a Citizen's Initiative? The Power of Big Tobacco

The simple, ugly truth is this: We have to do this ourselves because the politicians never will.

Some have tried, only to run into the political brick wall that tobacco companies have carefully built to protect themselves and their deadly products.

Armed with an army of the best lobbyists in the business and an unlimited political war chest, Big Tobacco has defeated 14 straight attempts to increase cigarette taxes in California.

14-0 – that’s the kind of record that gets NFL teams to the Super Bowl and puts major-league pitchers in the All-Star game.

How did they do it?  Money, and lots of it. They spent $66 million on a deceptive campaign to defeat the last ballot measure to raise cigarette taxes.

But political advertising is just one of the weapons cigarette makers have at their disposal. Contributions to politicians are another.  Big Tobacco also carefully cultivated front groups and surrogates who will side with them against any tax increase – from business leaders to ethnic and public safety organizations.

It’s all part of the political smokescreen meant to divert attention from the real issue – cigarettes and the terrible toll they take on public health.

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