Sacramento, U.S.A. — Tobacco interests spent a total of $4.7 million during the first year of the 2011-2012 election cycle to fight Proposition 29 and to influence legislators and policies in California, according to a recent report by the Center for Tobacco Policy & Organizing of the American Lung Association in California.

“The numbers in this report are clear, Big Tobacco continues to use its vast financial resources to oppose bills and life-saving ballot initiatives that would benefit public health,” said Jane Warner, President and CEO of the American Lung Association in California. “This fact, though disturbing, further inspires the American Lung Association and millions of Californians to stop Big Tobacco in its tracks. We are committed to preventing children from ever picking up their first cigarette, helping smokers quit and fighting the lung diseases that so often result from smoking. We will not relent until smoking is eradicated in California.”

Tobacco Money in California Politics shows that tobacco interests contributed almost $3.6 million to candidates and members of the California legislature, constitutional officers, and political committees thus far in 2011-2012. Further, the industry and its partners spent $1.1 million on lobbying during this period. This amount includes only the beginnings of the investment Big Tobacco made to defeat Proposition 29 which would have prevented the deaths of more than 100,000 Californians from smoking related illnesses had it passed.

Tobacco Money in California Politics contains full details on which bills were lobbied by tobacco interests, and lists legislators and political committees who accepted contributions from the industry. Highlights include:

  • The amount spent this year is more than double the amount spent during the first year of the 2009-2010 election cycle.
  • Of the 120 state legislators, tobacco interests made campaign contributions to 55 members, or 45% of the legislature, higher than in previous years.
  • More than 70% of the total contributions made during the 2011-2012 election cycle were to political committees who oppose Proposition 29, which was narrowly defeated in the polls on June 5 th.