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