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Phil Matier: Study Finds Tobacco Tax Money Not Going To Prevention Measures

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS/AP) – Next week, California voters will go to the polls to decide on Proposition 29, which would impose an additional $1 per pack tax on cigarettes.

But a new federal study has found that the state has used relatively little of the billions of dollars in tobacco money for prevention.

According to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 1998 and 2010, 6 percent of the money collected from a massive lawsuit settlement and from cigarette taxes was used for tobacco prevention and education programs.

Between those years, California collected nearly $22 billion from a lawsuit settlement with tobacco companies and from cigarette taxes. And the federal report found that in 2010, the state spent about $79 million on anti-tobacco efforts, about 18 percent of what federal guidelines recommends to have a significant impact on the public.

The tobacco tax is not the only one coming under question in terms of spending.

An examination by The Associated Press has found that California's specialty license plate program has raised millions of dollars since being authorized 20 years ago, but has virtually no independent oversight of how organizations spend the money.

KCBS, CBS 5 and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier:

You can hear Phil Matier's comments Monday through Friday at 7:50am and 5:50pm on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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