In November 2016, California voters approved the Tobacco Tax Increase Initiative (Proposition 56), nearly 30 years after the last tobacco tax was passed. The largest portion of the $2 per pack tax revenue is dedicated to Medi-Cal-funded services, with the remaining funds going to support tobacco prevention programs, research of tobacco-related diseases, and prevention education in schools.
Prior to that, in November 1988, California voters approved the Tobacco Tax and Health Promotion Act (Proposition 99). This initiative increased the state cigarette tax by .25 cents per pack and, as with Prop. 56, added an equivalent amount on other tobacco products. The revenues were, and still are, earmarked for programs to reduce smoking, provide health care services to indigents, support tobacco-related research, and fund resource programs for the environment.
Together, these taxes help fund the California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program (CDPH/CTCP) in statewide tobacco prevention efforts, and to maintain the infrastructure that supports the pass through of funds that reach communities across the state. CTCP has established tobacco control programs in local health departments known as local lead agencies (LLAs).
The Sonoma County Department of Health Services Tobacco Prevention is this area’s LLA. We provide prevention services and coordinate tobacco control activities with our community partners and allies throughout Sonoma County.
The funding from this tax revenue will result in a substantial expansion of Sonoma County’s Tobacco Prevention efforts to:
- Limit tobacco promoting influences
- Reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, tobacco smoke residue, tobacco waste and other tobacco products
- Reduce the availability of tobacco
- Promote tobacco cessation
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors has prioritized a healthy community as a strategic area of investment, and has set a vision of becoming the Healthiest County in California by 2020. Tobacco Prevention is working to help achieve that vision. Specifically the program:
Engages our community in the decision-making process:
- Provides staffing support to the Coalition for a Tobacco-free Sonoma County for the purpose of fostering their efforts around tobacco prevention and promoting community health education
Develops and applies public health policies to protect our community:
- Plans for, implements, and evaluates public health policies, for example, smoke-free laws for public places and tobacco retail licensing
- Is a technical assistance resource to local governments, coalitions and individuals seeking to strengthen protections for the public at large
- Answers inquiries from the general public about tobacco concerns, and the implementation of laws and policies related to tobacco and second hand smoke
- Provides guidance and support to jurisdictions looking to bolster prevention and compliance efforts
Serves as a tobacco prevention resource to our community:
- Provides training and resources to facilitate a system of effective screening, identification, referral to cessation, and delivery of cessation services and supports
- Works to prevent minors from acquiring tobacco products
- Educates businesses and providers on smoke-free policies
- Trains youth to assess their local environments in terms of types of tobacco products sold, price (including discounts and giveaways), advertising, where stores are located and where products are placed within those stores