ACS CAN Asks California Democratic Party to Return Dirty Money From E-cigarette Manufacturer Juul as part of the Cancer-Fighting Group’s Snuff Tobacco Money Out of California Politics Campaign
American Cancer Society Policy Affiliate Urges both Democratic and Republican State Parties to Reject Tobacco Influence; Asks State Democrats to Return Juul Convention Sponsorship
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is dismayed to see media reports that claim the California Democratic Party (CDP) accepted a significant donation from the tobacco company Juul Labs through sponsorship of the California Democratic Party Convention held recently in San Francisco.
ACS CAN requests that CDP return the contribution from Juul Labs and make an explicit commitment not to accept any contributions from tobacco companies in the future. The advocacy affiliate for the American Cancer Society also urged the California Republican Party (CRP) not to accept dirty tobacco money and to return any money taken this year. In fact, earlier this week, CRP accepted a $35,000 contribution from Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris who also recently bought a 35% stake in Juul.
ACS CAN exposed high rates of political contributions by e-cigarette maker Juul Labs, Inc. as landmark legislation to curb skyrocketing youth e-cigarette use was introduced this year. ACS CAN’s Snuff Tobacco Money Out of California Politics website tracks state politicians who take donations from tobacco companies and that includes dirty money from e-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs, which the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) says is behind a nationwide youth e-cigarette epidemic.
Since launching its campaign in 2014, ACS CAN has asked every state officeholder and candidate for state office to reject campaign contribution from any tobacco company including, but not limited to Altria Client Services Inc. and its affiliates; Cigar Association of America; NJOY; Juul Labs and RAI Services Company and its affiliates.
“We are now broadening the ask to reject campaign contributions from tobacco companies to include the major state parties in California after finding out from media reports the shocking news that CDP took a huge sponsorship from Juul Labs,” said ACS CAN California Senior Government Relations Director Tim Gibbs. “Candy and fruit flavored tobacco products are a key strategy to bait teens into tobacco use and right now Juul, the most popular brand among kids, is under the Federal Drug Administration’s microscope as the country grapples with a deeply troubling public health crisis. Taking money from a company responsible for addicting the next generation to tobacco is unacceptable.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data in February showing e-cigarette use among high schoolers jumped an alarming 78% in the last year. Assembly Bill (AB) 739 and Senate Bill (SB) 38, introduced this year, would have restricted the sale of all flavored tobacco products statewide. Neither bill survived the session after Juul Labs launched a major lobbying campaign this year, pouring money into the pockets of lawmakers in an attempt to sway votes at the California Capitol.
Big Tobacco is not only spending money to addict children and adults to their products—these companies are investing heavily in addicting our elected officials and state parties to tobacco money. ACS CAN was a co-sponsor of both SB 38 and AB 739. The Governmental Organizational Committee is a known obstacle to getting tobacco control policies passed. ACS CAN reported last month that GO committee members have taken a total of $23,500 in political contributions from Juul in just the first quarter of this year (along with $89,300 in additional tobacco money from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, which makes the No. 1 selling menthol cigarette in America).
According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids report on the toll of tobacco in California, it is estimated that 40,000 Californians will die from smoking every year. There are 441,000 children who are alive now that will die prematurely due to smoking-related disease. It is the single largest preventable cause of death. Smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined.
The annual health care costs in California directly caused by smoking are $13.29 billion. Medi-Cal covers $3.5 billion of those costs each year. The tax burden from smoking-caused government expenditure is $706 per household. Smoking-caused productivity loss in California costs an additional $10.35 billion a year.
ACS CAN now asks California’s political parties, as well as elected statewide office candidates, to reject the deception, pain and suffering that comes from tobacco campaign contributions. To find out more, go to www.notobaccomoney.org.
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.
Paid for by Snuff Tobacco Money Out of California Politics campaign, sponsored by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Inc.
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