Dang! Oregon Votes Down Tobacco Taxes for Kid's Health
Only significant health issue on yesterday's ballot around the country was in Oregon where voters -- by a 60-40% margin -- voted down an 84.5 cent tax increase on a pack of cigarettes to finance a major expansion in children's eligibility for public coverage. Click here for the Portland Tribune's story on the initiative result -- along with lots of colorful commentary by their readers. The tobacco industry put up about $12 million to defeat the measure, while supporters were able to muster about $3-4 million to promote it. The tobacco industry is back with a vengeance opposing tobacco tax increases across the nation, and winning most of the battles because of the size of their warchests. Nationally, the side with more money wins about 80 percent of the time.
Addendum: Today's NY Times editorialized on the Oregon vote (click here): "The outcome is a testament, more than anything else, to the shamelessness of the nation’s big tobacco companies. They spent an obscene amount of money on deceptive television ads designed to protect their profits, even at the expense of poor children."