R.J. Reynolds, Philip Morris drop $6.6 million to defeat cigarette tax initiative, keep health care from kids
WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement of William V. Corr, Executive Director, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:
In the latest example that the tobacco companies have not changed and continue to put profit before health, Big Tobacco and its bag of dirty tricks have descended on Oregon in an effort to defeat a November ballot initiative that would increase the state cigarette tax and fund children's health care. R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris have so far spent at least $6.6 million - a record for an Oregon ballot measure - to defeat Measure 50, the Healthy Kids Oregon initiative, according to media reports.
The tobacco companies' money is being spent on highly deceptive tactics that have been exposed by the Oregon media:
--R.J. Reynolds paid for, wrote and distributed a mass-mailed letter that looked to have been sent by a first grade teacher in Salem, but in fact was mailed from the office of a Reynolds lobbyist.
--R.J. Reynolds and parent company Reynolds American have tried to hide their role in opposing the initiative by creating a front group called Oregonians Against the Blank Check. At least six Oregon TV stations refused to run one of Reynolds' ads until the company revised them to include a tag line stating it was the sole funder of the ads.
--Oregonian media have repeatedly exposed false claims in R.J. Reynolds' ads against the initiative, including a false claim that most of the money would not be used for children's health care.
--Philip Morris funded an unsuccessful lawsuit to block Oregon voters from voting on the initiative.
R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris are fighting Measure 50 because it
would raise the cigarette tax by 84.5 cents per pack, which they know is a
highly effective strategy to reduce smoking, especially among kids. The
|SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids|
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