Latest Blog Entries

Has Your Congressman Taken Tobacco Money?

Every six months the Center for Tobacco Policy & Organizing releases new data on tobacco industry contributions to California legislators. This information is important because in California, tobacco interests spend millions of dollars every year on political campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures in an attempt to influence the political landscape at the state legislature. In fact, during the first year of the 2013-2014 election cycle, tobacco interests have already spent more than $2.7 million on campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures to influence legislative policy and elections in California. (And if you haven’t seen it, go check out our searchable contributions database to learn more about whether your legislators have taken contributions.)

Now there is exciting new information nationally on the number of Congress men & women who have (or have not) taken money from the tobacco industry. Read More »

Another Story We’ve Heard Before

As (hopefully) everyone in tobacco knows now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products issued its long-awaited proposal to regulate e-cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, hookah, pipe tobacco and other tobacco products. This regulation proposes to extend basic authorities found in the Tobacco Control Act to all other tobacco products (including e-cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, hookah, and pipe tobacco), such as:

  • Registration by all manufactures with FDA, including a list of all tobacco products they sell
  • Disclosure of ingredients by manufacturers to FDA
  • Prohibit the sales of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18
  • Eliminate free sampling of all tobacco products
  • Good manufacturing practice requirements
  • Premarket review for any “new” tobacco product
  • Premarket review of any product wishing to make a “modified risk or harm” claim

A week later, this headline caught my eye on the Center’s news article feed on our website. At the end of the article the commentator urges city and county decision makers in Arizona “to wait at least for the FDA to act on the current e-cigarette proposals before proceeding on their own with more regulations.” Read More »

The City of Los Angeles’s E-cigarette Ordinance Is Now In Effect

E-cigarettes have become the topic of concern and discussion in many cities and counties across the nation. This is not surprising since e-cigarette companies have proliferated communities with their claims that their products are a safe alternative to smoking that can be used in any location. As a matter of fact, there is no evidence establishing the safety of e-cigarettes. In addition, there is no evidence that shows that the vapor emitted from e-cigarettes is safe to inhale.

E-cigarettes are available in over 250 flavors, which include Captain Crunch, gummy bear, cotton candy, and Fruit Loops. As can be seen from some of the available flavors of e-cigarettes it is clear that there is a highly targeted effort to get youth to start using e-cigarettes. All of these issues were at the forefront of the Los Angeles City Council on March 4, 2014 when they voted unanimously to prohibit the use E-cigarettes wherever cigarettes are currently prohibited. This includes indoor workplaces,parks, beaches, and outdoor dining areas. Read More »

Our Favorite Moments of I&E Days 2014!

Every year, I&E Days allows tobacco prevention and public health individuals from all over California to come together at the State Capitol to educate their legislators on local and statewide tobacco issues. There were many highlights this year, however, we want to point out a single few favorite moments. Feel free to tell us your favorite part of I&E Days 2014 in the comment section below!

This is the 10th I&E Days I have attended. But it was my first year participating from behind the scenes and helping to plan the event. I had an opportunity to see how it is that all participants get assigned to their meetings, I even had an opportunity to help with assigning many of the participants as team leaders.

I have to admit it was a big change for me not to prepare to meet with my legislators this year, but I really enjoyed helping participants get ready for
their meetings. But my favorite part of this I&E Days was interacting with participants from across the State of California. Usually, I only interact with the LA folks, so it was great to meet so many people and to feel the great energy and enthusiasm that everyone brought to this year’s I&E Days. Looking forward to next year!

– Marlene Gomez

It’s always difficult for me to pick a favorite part of our Capitol I&E Days event because everything, really, is so much fun. From watching the newcomers learn and experience meetings for the first time, to networking with colleagues at the Meet and Greet, to hearing about the legislative visits, it’s a great experience from start to finish. But, I suppose if I have to pick, my favorite part of I&E Days was hearing Assembly Member Dr. Pan speak. Read More »

Thoughts on Prop 99’s Silver Anniversary

To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Proposition 99, the California Tobacco Tax, the Center is lucky to have the campaign directer of Prop 99, Jack Nicholl as a guest blogger. To commemorate this day, Mr. Nicholl will be speaking at the Center’s Information and Education Days’ Meet & Greet.

California voters passed Proposition 99 twenty-five years ago.  Last November’s silver anniversary marked a generation of amazing progress in public health. The vote in 1988 was 58% yes, 42% no, a landslide in today’s politics.  It was a crazy election with 29 ballot measures (3 on auto insurance alone) and resulted in big Republican victories: George HW Bush elected as president and Pete Wilson returned to the US Senate.

From early in 1988 when we began polling, it looked like we could win; but the public health world was skeptical.  California Medical Association undercut the campaign while sitting on the Executive Committee because they feared the tobacco companies would attack doctors and those who worked on the unsuccessful ballot measures restricting indoor smoking in 1978 and 1980 said the industry would beat us.  The political establishment knew the power of Big Tobacco and they were certain we would lose.

But those of us sticking our necks out saw things differently. Read More »