Tobacco re-emerges in Cali

California’s long-effective anti-tobacco efforts are faltering

California’s fight against tobacco lacks the punch it once had, according to a study from UC San Francisco.

Once an international model for tobacco control, the state’s efforts have suffered from cuts to the California Tobacco Control Program, a resurgence of tobacco lobbyists in state politics, and the popularity of unregulated tobacco products such as e-cigarettes, according to a UCSF press release. The report is part of a long-term research project that tracks the effect of anti-tobacco programs on public health.

The state’s Tobacco Tax and Health Protection Act, enacted in 1989, reduced the number of packs of cigarettes sold from 2.5 billion in 1988 to 951 million in 2012. Due to inflation, the program’s spending power is half of where it started. Meanwhile, the state’s rate of decline in tobacco consumption has fallen behind national averages.

A separate UCSF study recently found that smoking cost the state an average of $487 per resident, or $18.1 billion total, in 2009.