The California Medical Association (CMA) reinforced its long-established stance against tobacco use today, with the CMA House of Delegates voting in favor of a resolution (Res. 107-15) that strongly objects to pro-tobacco efforts by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in other parts of the world.
With the resolution’s passage, CMA calls on the Chamber to immediately halt all advocacy efforts on behalf of tobacco companies and urges all conscientious companies that are members of the Chamber to either take similar action or quit their membership to protest such anti-health efforts.
“As a country we should not be educating our populace about the evils of tobacco while trying to sell our product to people throughout the world,” said Richard Gray, M.D., who testified in favor of the resolution during an open comment period. “Tobacco has no benefit for humans, and we need to send a clear and consistent message that this is so.”
Tobacco use is the cause of almost 6 million deaths worldwide each year, and will cause more than 8 million deaths annually by 2030, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On average, people who smoke die 10 years earlier than those who don’t.
This resolution comes at a time when CMA—as part of the Save Lives California Coalition—is seeking to reduce those numbers by implementing a needed $2 per pack tax increase on cigarettes sold in California—a concept that’s already gained an overwhelming number of supporters across political party lines. A Field Poll released in August showed two-thirds of those surveyed support such a measure.
“Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in California,” said Steven Larson, M.D., CMA president. “The resolution passed this weekend along with the recently filed initiative will help people quit smoking and will fund research cures for cancer and other tobacco-related diseases.”
Currently, California’s cigarette tax is among the lowest in the nation, at 87 cents per pack. California is also the only state in the country, besides Missouri, that hasn’t raised its cigarette tax in the past 17 years.
“It is up to all of us to help prevent and reduce teen smoking,” said John Maa, M.D., author of the resolution. “Thousands of underage smokers become addicted each year and with the efforts of the Save Lives coalition along with this resolution, we will be able to reduce those numbers.”