The California Tobacco Control Program: A Long-Term Health Communication Project
In November 1988, California voters passed Proposition 99, which established the Tobacco Tax and Health Protection Act and initiated the California Tobacco Control Program. Proposition 99 designated specifically how monies raised from the increased excise tax could be spent. These expenditure allocations can only be overruled by a four fifths majority of legislators and only if the changes fit within the general intent of Proposition 99. The resulting California Tobacco Control Program is widely perceived to be the largest and most comprehensive health promotion program ever undertaken to reduce the impact of tobacco on society. Following California’s lead, a number of other states (Massachusetts, Arizona, Oregon) have increased the state excise tax on cigarettes and allocated part of the funds to support a statewide Tobacco Control Program. More recently, Florida has used monies available from their settlement of a lawsuit with the tobacco companies to support such a program. As of 1998, the California program is the only one that has had continuous funding for 6 years with representative data available for evaluation.