The human and financial costs of cancer are staggering, and now California’s voters are being given a chance to fight back by approving a new tax of $ 1 per pack of cigarettes. If the new tax is approved, most of the money generated would be used to fund cancer research. The proposed new tax will be voted on in June during primary voting – the tax is embodied in Proposition 29.
The tax is plainly a good idea, especially when one considers the enormous costs of cancer. For the globe, annual direct and indirect costs of cancer are estimated at $1.5 trillion, annually, as described before on this blog. And, the numbers for the US alone are staggering, as described in a press release from the NIH. "Based on growth and aging of the U.S. population, medical expenditures for cancer in the year 2020 are projected to reach at least $158 billion (in 2010 dollars) – an increase of 27 percent over 2010, according to a National Institutes of Health analysis. If newly developed tools for cancer diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up continue to be more expensive, medical expenditures for cancer could reach as high as $207 billion, said the researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the NIH. The analysis appears online, Jan. 12, 2011, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute."
Set out below are key excerpts from a new Science magazine article on Proposition 29: