Cycling legend Lance Armstrong is not used to being the failure. But the seven-time Tour de France winner faces a slope climb in his quest to increase cigarette taxes in California to fund cancer research. If voters approve the tobacco tax law Armstrong is championing in the June primary, smokers in the nation’s most populous state will pay an additional $1 for each package they purchase, bringing hundreds of millions of dollars for country.
The money would go to a new committee that would fund research new programs, smoke-free programs and tobacco legislation enforcement.
But higher taxes on cigs and other smoking products could mean big losses especially for Philip Morris USA, RJ Reynolds and the other main tobacco industries, which are financing the campaign. The company calls it a badly cracked measure that will oblige California taxpayers to pay for a smoked bureaucracy that could deliver research dollars out of state.
The cigarettes companies and anti-tax groups that resist the initiative had increased almost $39.8 million as of May 7, while Armstrong and his supporters had raised $4.9 million.
“It doesn’t matter how much you support the cigarette companies’ right to do smokes business; they’re on the wrong side of this,” Armstrong declared in a recent interview with The Associated Press. “We’re still losing hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to cancer. On the one hand, that can be very dishearten. But for me it’s very prompt motivation.”