Tag Archives: oregon tobacco taxes

Tobacco Industry Puts Profits Before Kids in Defeating Oregon Ballot Initiative

Statement of William V. Corr, Executive Director, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Tobacco or Kids? Who has values?

Washington, Nov. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — By telling $12 million worth of lies, the Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds tobacco companies have again protected their profits at the expense of children.

By defeating a ballot initiative to increase Oregon’s cigarette tax and fund health care for children it is pretty evident where big tobacco stands.

The tobacco companies will profit by selling more cigarettes, while Oregonians will pay a terrible price with more kids addicted to tobacco, more lives lost and more kids without health care.

Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds opposed this initiative because they know that increasing the cigarette tax is one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking, especially among children, and they also know that the public strongly supports increasing the cigarette tax.

These tobacco companies knew they couldn’t win by arguing against the cigarette tax increase, so they spent a record $12 million to change the subject and deceive the voters of Oregon. In fact, the tobacco companies made this election about anything but the cigarette tax increase, which is the one issue they truly cared about.

Throughout the campaign, media reports regularly exposed the industry’s deceptive tactics, including the creation of an industry-funded front group — Oregonians Against the Blank Check; RJR’s distribution of a mass-mailed letter that appeared to come from a first-grade teacher, but was mailed from the office of the company’s lobbyist; and false claims in TV ads.

The tobacco companies’ ads falsely claimed that the money raised would not be spent on children’s health care and manufactured controversy about amending the Oregon Constitution despite the fact it has similarly been amended many times (and the tobacco companies themselves have proposed constitutional amendments in other states).

The $12 million spent by Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds more than doubled the previous record for an Oregon ballot initiative and was nearly four times what proponents of the initiative spent. Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds should be held accountable for the high cost in health, lives and money that the people of Oregon will pay.

Because this measure was defeated, 29,000 more kids will become smokers, 13,000 lives will be lost to tobacco-caused disease, and Oregon will pay $662 million more in long-term health care costs. In addition, more than 100,000 deserving Oregon children will go without the health coverage Measure 50 would have provided.

Image of KidsThe Oregon outcome does not change the fact that the public strongly supports increasing tobacco taxes. National and state polls across the country show overwhelming support for tobacco tax increases — support that extends across party lines, from smokers and non-smokers alike, throughout
all regions.

Since Jan. 1, 2002, 44 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia have increased their cigarette tax rates more than 75 times — more than doubling the national average cigarette tax from 43.4 cents to $1.09 a pack. Increasing federal and cigarette taxes remains one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking, especially among kids, and the public will continue to support it.

Source: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Measure 50 Fails in Oregon

Measure 50 would have raised the tax on a pack of cigarettes by 85 cents to pay for children’s health care and other programs in Oregon.

Don’t let this failure for the health of Oregon’s children lead you to believe that Big Tobacco will always win.

There will always be web sites like Ciggyfree to point out how Big Tobacco manipulates people, our land, our air, and even rewires our brains.

Tobacco addiction is the intention of this industry which in turn reduces the quality of all human life on our planet — all for the sake of padding the selfish coffers of their corporate greed.

CoveringShame on YOU BIG TOBACCO and shame on those who support Big Tobacco.
You are all a bunch of moraless souls putting profits above the value of life.

Are You ‘For Sale’ on Measure 50 in Oregon

Big Tobacco is sweating this one out after poison-nicotine profits supply $12 millions for subverting Oregon voters.

That old cliche “The nation’s eyes are on you” is quite literally true for Tuesday’s vote. 

Big Tobacco has been forced to wreak out the largest bribe-run of political-ad monies in Oregon’s history, with $12 millions already spent.

Campaign contributions alone may have set up this sequence by providing confrontation within the Legislature, but true-decision still remains right where it should be – with the citizens themselves.

Right or wrong, Oregon’s response may well shape up first the Congressional action on SCHIP –national children’s health insurance– and then foreshadow final action for universal health insurance in this nation, too.

What we DO, here-and-now, will then have strong impact on upcoming rapid decisions for universal health care at the two basic-levels/demanded very soon.

Oregon may very literally lead the nation on this consummately consequential vote.

That fact is making many Oregonians face up irrevocably to their own conscience as they contemplate a very simple choice:

Cheerleader PictureVOTE NO – resoundingly defying and denying the money power never more manipulative -applied than by Big Tobacco, or be side-tracked into submission-AGAIN by the slickly-contrived ads, concentrated on cooking the facts to pervert votes by clearly-crooked presentations-everywhere; with repetition and wide release the keys to subversion of the well known public will.

THINK-again before you act, if you are on the fence over this one.

That expensive flood of tv ads, thrown up over and over again on every Oregon screen, distorts and perverts the actual realities involved here.

That headlong lie in the face of truth is commonplace and always concentrated by the Big T. side; made entirely evident by the rapid-response rebuttal with fact and authoritative statement from supporters of this historic measure.

Well known to those paid profusely to provide propaganda-results, the Big Lie that is repeated provocatively, piled high in every media channel, and pronounced proper-truth by paid authoritative persons– is simply standard procedure since there is nothing else left to provide.

That distorting/perverting overwhelming necessity for Big Tobacco is proven very prominently –over and over again, for all to see and understand– by the extremely revealing list of sponsors supplying the working-dollars for all those ads.

FOR this measure lists every conceivable public-health/service group and working organization; while Opposing lists ONLY Big Tobacco firms, and the ostensibly-local (and surely well-paid !) Big T. servant group necessary to submit the ads.

Huge impacts of nicotine-poison lifetime peonage and permanent lung damage leading to premature death are too solidly and broadly on the public record to be ignored.

In fact that has become such a well known legal fact-of-life that it is widely cited as strong precedent in any new confrontation, as in damage suits now in process covering defective voting machines –surely an ironic note here!

Today everyone knows a relative or friend or associate already so stricken– and now dehumanized by despair and depression– while awaiting a painful death, proven by the millions already so removed.

The danger is not only for smokers but for others whose atmosphere is irrevocably also permeated and poisoned by the irresponsible actions of those so-addicted they are made regardless of decencies and consideration for others.

Those consequences of getting hooked are so widely known that nowadays anyone –even a small/business-owner retailing them– must be keenly aware of what those profits really cost: Irresponsible damage to human life, peddled for pennies of profit by ANYone pandering to the propaganda and pressing approach of Big Tobacco.

Wonder what those-so-involved will answer when their growing child, keyed and informed by education and society generally, will, finally, ask: Why did you sell that poisonous stuff, Daddy?

That same question may well surface (and surely should !) within the family circle of those providing the perverted propaganda so widely seen-and-heard on every Oregon tv-news station and via radio, too.

For those who find themselves involved in helping supply that nicotine-poison today there is only one answer –the same one for any other such poisonous substance on sale once it is clearly and unmistakably so discovered: NO LONGER from me, now that I KNOW the truth.

That ID, infinitely deadly – was made centuries ago, has been known ever since, and was never, ever, allowed to interfere with profit-taking no matter what human costs were concerned.

Our American slavery era, built on Big Tobacco colonial-produced profits, was wiped away only by one of the world’s most excruciating national spasms, costing our struggling nation many deaths and many millions in war costs –with that same war continuing to this very day, in pursuit of the same high levels of profit promised and produced by the absolutely addictive capture always consequential to any personal use.

Those social, cultural, economic and political damages are STILL far from cleared away with ongoing consequences still excruciatingly painful to millions. They carry with them extreme healthcare costs clearly consequential both for smokers and those caught in their miasma.

Those facts are too solidly and surely fully on record –and now too widely circulated to provide conscience-clear continuance for ANYone pursuing further pandering-for-profit from this universally-dangerous nicotine-poison.

Unfair to currently-caught smokers ? WHEN has it ever been unfair to snatch away poison from the hand about to imbibe?

Unwise to add enforcement to Oregon’s Constitution ? WHY, when we have been doing so, in one way or another, ever since 1902?

Oregon’s citizens have long been known for their wit, wisdom and will –so much so I need not even cite examples, well known to most. Will we now prove up that prolonged and continuing protocol?

YOURS may be THE VERY VOTE –with others– to DO THIS JOB NOW in stopping Big Tobacco cold and commensurately censored.

Let’s send them away seething, and make them seek somewhere else to recoup their rapidly-departing power from profits produced, not-so-purely, from poisons provided the unthinking public.


Click here to learn more about Big Tobacco

Tobacco Campaign Tops Record $11 million (Oregonian)

The tobacco money against Oregon’s Measure 50’s proposed cigarette tax increase keeps piling in.

Philip Morris has donated another $1.1 million to the campaign, putting total contributions to that effort over $11 million.

Philip Morris, the Richmond, Virginia,-based maker of Marlboro cigarettes, and its parent company have donated $6.9 million to Stop The Measure 50 Tax Hike. Reynolds American, the maker of Camels, has contributed $4.8 million to another committee opposing the proposal, Oregonians Against The Blank Check.

Kids Versus CigarettesMeasure 50 would raise cigarette taxes by 85 cents a pack and Oregon could use the money for children’s health insurance and other health programs.

The campaign supporting the measure, Yes on the Healthy Kids Plan, has reported raising and spending $3.2 million so far. The proposal is one of two statewide measures on the Nov. 6 vote-by-mail ballot.

Only one campaign for or against a statewide ballot measure had ever topped $7 million in contributions in inflation-adjusted dollars, according to Democracy Reform Oregon, which monitors campaign finance activity. That was a 1992 effort against two measures proposing to shut down and close the Trojan nuclear power plant, which raised just more than $7 million in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Source: The Oregonian, davehogan@news.oregonian.com — Dave Hogan

Click to learn more about >Philip Morris

Send the Carpetbaggers Home: Vote Yes on 50

Salem Oregon – What was it Deep Throat said during the Watergate fiasco? “Follow the money.”

When we do so today in the Measure 50 debate what do we find?

We find the anti-50 side has shattered all records for spending… over $10 million and still going strong… 99.999% of which comes from three out of state tobacco companies.

Oh the shock and surprise are palpable.

No? Me neither.

Big Tobacco, one of the greatest liars of the modern age, is pulling out all the stops in their desperate attempt to derail Measure 50, the Healthy Kids initiative.

To most this is a no-brainer. Raise taxes on tobacco, a known killer and health risk, to fund health care for kids. The ignorance is what is truly palpable however.

I lost track of how many folks spew the ignorant whine that if the tax decreases smoking it will reduce the revenue from the tax and make the project non-viable. This ignores a few facts. If the tax were to cover every penny that smoking costs the health care industry etc it would be over $11 a pack. So we are adding around 85 cents a pack to bring the total; to just a hair over $2 a pack. So let’s say the tax causes a million less packs to be sold. That means $2 million less in revenue from the tax BUT $11 MILLION LESS EXPENSE to the health care infrastructure.

A net GAIN of $9 million.

And couldn’t $2 million of that $9 million in savings be put back into the Healthy Kids initiative, leaving $7 in reduced health care costs that can lower insurance rates and medical costs, fund additional services or some combination of these or other things?

Getting people to quit smoking tobacco is NEVER a bad thing. For society as well as the individual it is always a positive. The smokers might not like to see it that way, but it is.

You have the right to smoke if you are 16 or older. No one is changing that. But it still does not change the fact that it is a stupid thing to do. And I quit a 3-and-a-half pack a day habit in 1985 so I am not just some anti-smoking Nazi. It was stupid then and it is even more stupid now with all the information, costs and inconveniences involved.

But you do NOT have the right to just foist all these incredibly high costs of your chosen vice onto everyone else. Why should the general public subsidize the majority of that $11+ per pack cost associated with your personal habit, especially when doing so means less of the health care pie is available to kids needing health care?

Short answer… it shouldn’t.

The argument in the ads is we should not tax a few to benefit others. The truth is we should not tax everyone to benefit the stupid personal health choices of a few. But that is the current standard, unfortunately, but Measure 50 balances it out just a little bit. Nowhere near how much it should, but a lot better than it does currently.

One of the lamest arguments provided by Big Tobacco’s well funded propaganda campaign is it is wrong to modify the Constitution of Oregon.

Who the heck do these tools think they are kidding? This is Oregon. We mess with the Constitution all the time. When was the last 4 year period where there was not at least one Constitutional amendment on the ballot? Puh-LEEZE! And we do not put tax issues into the Constitution? SINCE WHEN?

Basically the argument is too ludicrous for mere words to describe in its full grandeur.

The last argument by the desperate liars of the Big Tobacco propaganda machine is that there are kids who already qualify for the Oregon Health Plan but are not enrolled. While this is true, it is not an indictment against the OHP nor Measure 50. No one is REQUIRED to enroll. It is voluntary. Measure 50 would allow tens of thousands of kids to enroll who CANNOT enroll currently. Will some still not be enrolled? Probably. But that is the decision of the parents.

Many who qualify do not apply because of the way the system works. I know a person who could qualify, for example, for job placement assistance. But he will not do it. Why? Because not only are the jobs provided bottom of the barrel types with no future but the program requires you to attend meetings, during work hours, and these employers are not interested in giving the participants the time off, so either you get disqualified for your food stamps because you missed the meetings or you get disqualified because you got fired.

It is a no win situation and whether they are right or wrong many people feel the same way about the Oregon Health Plan. And this is just one big reason for the lack of enrollment of many who already qualify.

But that is an issue with DHS, not Measure 50.

But the most telling reason to vote YES on 50 is because out of state Big Tobacco seems to think they can come into our state like carpetbaggers in the post-Civil War South and buy elections in Oregon for their benefit and against the interests of Oregonians.

Send the carpetbaggers packing.

Help kids get health care.

Reduce the use of tobacco.

Increase the health of Oregonians overall.

Rarely can you do one right thing for so many right reasons, Do not miss the opportunity now.

Vote YES on Measure 50

Source: Political Commentary by Neal Feldman Salem-News.com

Reynolds American Adds $304,000 to Fight Oregon Measure 50

Dave Hogan from The Oregonian reported today that:

Reynolds American, the makers of Camel cigarettes, has contributed another $304,000 to the record-setting campaign against Measure 50, which would raise Oregon’s cigarette tax by 85 cents a pack.”

Reynolds, based in Winston-Salem, N.C., has now contributed $4.6 million to the Oregonians Against The Blank Check campaign while Philip Morris, the makers of Marlboros, and its parent company have donated $5.8 million to the Stop The Measure 50 Tax Hike committee.

Those two committees have raised far more money than any other ballot measure campaign in Oregon history.

50.gifIt looks like Reynolds has a major business problem with measure 50! If fewer people can afford to maintain smoking and fewer children pick up the addiction, tobacco profits will plummet to record lows.

In order to profit, a cigarette company needs to always find replacement smokers since the majority of smokers die before their time.

The CDC says that in 2006 tobacco use was the leading preventable cause of death in the United States and that cigarette smoking causes an estimated 438,000 deaths, or about 1 of every 5 deaths, each year. This estimate includes approximately 38,000 deaths from secondhand smoke exposure.

Click here to learn more The Oregonian .

Cigarette Companies Light Up More Donations Against Measure 50

In a last-drag effort to defeat Oregon’s 85-cents-a-pack tax increase on cigarettes, the makers of Camel smokes tossed in another $905,000 today against the fight to crush Measure 50.

Today’s donation puts tobacco contributions at a staggering record of $10 million so far.

Reynolds American, the producers of Camel, has now contributed $4.2 million to the campaign against Measure 50.

The other $5.8 million has come from Philip Morris, the maker of Marlboro’s.

In case you were wondering what Measure 50 will do, well, allow us to tell you what it will do: Money raised from the tax increase for cigarettes would be used to pay for children’s health insurance and other health programs.

Measure 50 will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot, with ballots being mailed next week.

Map of OregonWhile at least 10 other Oregon ballot measure campaigns have raised more than $5 million in adjusted-for-inflation dollars during the past 20 years, only one raised more than $7 million and none raised more than $8 million, the Oregonian reported.

Source: Joseph Friedrichs, New West