Letter from the President
As we celebrate Breathe California’s 109th birthday, I offer my sincere appreciation for your continuous support and dedication to healthier communities. You inspire us to do more and do better, and in this increasingly uncertain political climate, we need you now more than ever.
Powerful illustrations of why tobacco prevention efforts are so critical popped up in unexpected places this year; one of those literally hit home. Born and raised in the Bay Area, my father smoked for over 30 years, beginning as a teenager. He quit in 1989 when California introduced its first tobacco tax (taxing cigarettes really does help people quit!). Still, earlier this year and 28 years after his last cigarette, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Like my dad, youth often don’t understand that the health impacts from tobacco may not be felt for decades. I am proud to lead an organization working to change that every day!
I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the communities and families devastated by wildfires this year and thank all those who helped to save lives and lungs, protecting one another from the flames and resulting toxic air pollution. You are true lung health champions who inspire Breathe California to continue the ongoing battle for clean air and healthy lungs.
I would also like to thank all of the California voters who helped pass Proposition 56 this year, adding a $2 tobacco tax to each pack of cigarettes. We are ecstatic that smoking rates are starting to decrease, yet nearly 500,000 people are still dying of tobacco-related diseases each year. Focusing on the state’s most vulnerable populations, Prop 56 will help lower smoking rates even further, with funds supporting medical care, lung health research, and tobacco prevention efforts.
Finally, on behalf of our Board of Directors and staff, I would like to thank you for supporting Breathe California and our efforts to make lasting change at the local, state and national levels. Your generosity and leadership makes all of the difference.
Tanya Stevenson, EdD, MPH
President & CEO
Download our 2016-2017 Year in Review