On October 21st, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People National Board of Directors voted to endorse California ballot Proposition 86 that would raise billions of dollars for hospitals and fund universal children's health insurance, anti-tobacco programs and health education programs by increasing taxes on tobacco.
"From our earliest days, the health status of African-Americans has been a major NAACP concern. Proposition 86 will be a great step toward that goal," said Julian Bond, Chairman, NAACP Board of Directors.
"By passing this resolution, the NAACP has gone on the record again as being opposed to smoking and in favor of better health care for children and adults," said Bruce S. Gordon, NAACP President and CEO. "It's a scientific fact that avoiding tobacco products results in health benefits for both smokers and non-smokers. Everything possible should be done to discourage young people from starting the smoking habit. This is our national policy and we're sticking to it."
Proposition 86 would raise cigarette taxes by $2.60 a pack, making the California cigarette tax the highest in the nation. The average price of cigarettes would be nearly $7 a pack. "It has been demonstrated that an increase in the price of tobacco products reduces the utilization of those products, especially among the young," the Board resolution states. Supporters of the proposition estimate the increased price of cigarettes could prompt more than 500,000 smokers to quit and prevent 300,000 deaths each year.
In supporting Proposition 86, the NAACP joins a number of groups that include the California Black Health Network, American Diabetes Association, AARP-California, California Federation of Teachers, National Council of La Raza, League of United Latin American Citizens, Los Angeles Urban League, National African American Tobacco Education Network, American Federation of State, County Municipal Employees, Service Employees International Union Local 535, United Farm Workers, League of Women Voters of California, California Medical Association, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation-Central Valley Affiliate, Dental Health Foundation and the National Health Foundation.
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