Cycling star Lance Armstrong is known for overcoming great physical challenges such as grueling cycling races and his tough fight with cancer, but now the seven-time Tour de France winner is taking on a Herculean battle of different kind… a legislative one.
Tomorrow, voters in California will vote to approve or reject ballot Proposition 29, which, if passed, would increase the cost of a pack of cigarettes in the Golden State by $1 and Armstrong is pushing hard to make that happen. Revenue generated from the tax increase, which some estimate could reach $735 million annually, would all be used for cancer research, anti-smoking programs and tobacco law enforcement.
Some Prop. 29 advocates claim the price increase alone would get people to smoke less simply because they wouldn’t want to cough up the extra dough, but the tax hike would also produce the largest cancer research fund in the country not controlled by the federal government. The American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association all support the measure, but Armstrong and his allies have formidable opponents in this legislative battle, including big tobacco companies such as Phillip Morris.
California hasn’t increased its cigarette tax in 10 years, is it time to up the price for smoke sticks? If so, should all of the generated revenue be earmarked exclusively for cancer research or should at least some it be tapped for other uses?
David Spady, state director, Americans for Prosperity California
Lance Armstrong, athlete; cancer survivor; author; seven consecutive time winner, Tour de France