The Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations (NEPO) has endorsed Proposition 29, which will increase cigarette taxes by $1 per pack. According to Margaret Juarez, M.D., Chair of NEPO, the group is endorsing the measure because it will help decrease the disproportionate smoking-related deaths among ethnic groups and generate millions of dollars for cancer research.
“This initiative will help save lives, plain and simple,” Dr. Juarez said. “As physicians, we’re dedicated to keeping our patients healthy and that’s exactly what Prop. 29 will do.”
Smoking and other tobacco use are major contributors to the three leading causes of death in African Americans – heart disease, cancer and stroke. In fact, in California, African American males have the highest overall cancer incidence and mortality rates.
Proposition 29 will appear on the June 5, 2012, ballot and is sponsored by the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association. The California Medical Association has also endorsed the proposition.
NEPO is a collaboration of more than 50 organizations, representing over 15,000 physicians, many of whom are in solo and small group practices serving the safety net in California. These physician organizations represent a variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds and share the mission to create an empowered, unified voice of ethnic physicians and their organizations to promote diversity, access and quality in health care.