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February 22, 1995

Judge Rules Diversion of Antismoking Money Illegal, Victory for California Tobacco Control Program

JAMA. 1995;273(8):610-611. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520320018009

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ANTISMOKING FORCES scored a decisive victory in the struggle to save California's highly acclaimed Tobacco Control Program.

On January 23, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Roger K. Warren ordered the state of California to immediately stop spending tobacco taxes that were diverted from the program's antismoking education and research accounts.

At issue is $128 million that the court determined had been illegally diverted from accounts set up by Proposition 99 (Prop 99). This public initiative, passed in 1988 by a vote of 58% to 42%, boosted the state's tobacco tax 25 cents per pack and required 5% of the revenues to be spent on tobacco-related research and 20% on antismoking education programs (JAMA. 1992;267:2721-2726).

From the start, Gov Pete Wilson and the legislature, urged on by the tobacco industry and other groups, diverted increasing amounts of money from Prop 99 health education and research accounts to help pay for medical care

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