Yes on Proposition 56 Is a No to E-Cigs for Kids

Proposition 56 is on the ballot in November

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There are going to be a lot of items on the ballot in November, and you might start hearing ads about Prop 56. I’ve only heard the ones against it, and they make me spit-take. Because when I listen closely, I hear “Paid for by [INSERT BIG TOBACCO COMPANY HERE].”

I learned about Proposition 56 from my colleague at BlogHer in Los Angeles. The proposition, if passed, will add a $2 tax to each pack of cigarettes, and also add taxes to e-cigarettes, which are marketed increasingly more to children. A gateway delivery of nicotine to make them future smokers, perhaps?

Far from being funded by the very-rich tobacco lobby, Proposition 56 is supported by communities who care about healthy kids. Here is their biggest ad so far:

Here are more facts about Proposition 56:
  • Prop 56 will increase CA’s tobacco tax by $2 per pack and place an equivalent increase on other tobacco products containing nicotine, including electronic cigarettes.
  • Raising the tax on tobacco products is an especially effective way to keep kids from smoking, according to the US Surgeon General. And California’s tobacco tax is among the lowest in the nation.
  • The revenue generated from this tax will go to Medi-Cal (health care for low income Californians including 1/3 of the state’s populations and HALF of all CA kids), smoking prevention programs, research into tobacco-related diseases, and law enforcement.
  • Tobacco is still a major problem in California: it kills 40,000 Californians each year and costs taxpayers $3.5 Billion JUST in Medi-Cal spending.
  • Tobacco is still targeting our kids: Each year, 16,800 California kids start smoking – 1/3rd of whom will eventually die from tobacco-related diseases.
  • Now kids are getting hooked on nicotine with electronic cigarettes. A recent CDC survey showed that 20% of California high school kids have used electronic cigarettes in the past 30 days and 40% have experimented with them.

Learn more at YesOn56.org

LEGOLAND: the Adventure Continues

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Last month our family visited LEGOLAND California again. Even though we’ve been there a few times before, it felt new because it’s been three years since we went as a family, and our boys are 3 years older, so it’s like bringing new kids! We know what to expect, but that gives us the comfort to look for new experiences in this fun familiar place.

The Drive: Coming from Agoura Hills, the drive can take a while, especially in traffic, so we wait until after dinner to get on the road. This time we set out around 8pm and checked into our hotel at 11pm.

The Hotel: Sure, you can drive down to Carlsbad, spend the day at LEGOLAND, and then hop back in the car after closing, but that would just be crazy. So we like to drive down the night before, stay in a hotel, spend the next day (or two) at the park, have a nice dinner, then spend a second night. On this second evening the kids can play in the pool and we parents can relax and stretch out our sore legs. Our hotel of choice has been the Best Western Encinitas, which is far less expensive than closer lodging options, and it’s only a 15-minute drive from the park. Free continental breakfast every morning and a nice little pool with a hot tub, plus it’s right near the beach.

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The Park: LEGOLAND has expanded since we last visited in 2013, with its newest attraction, Ninjago World, still not even open when we were here this time! (It’s open now, though!)

We stopped at all of the tried and true attractions we remember from when the kids were younger, but it’s kind of hilarious to see their bigger bodies in these settings:

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Upgraded shark mouth, 2016

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Original shark mouth, 2013

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Driving School, 2016

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He fit better in 2013

We took the time to marvel at the LEGO creations, things we may not have paused to consider in earlier years when kids were rushing to the rides:

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I was delighted to discover that they have added a new section to the water park, which is CHIMA themed.

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Pro tip for the water park: you should definitely pay the extra money to rent a locker for the time you are here. This keeps your valuables safe and dry, and frees up your hands so that you can run around the water park with your kids. You are given a wristband that you scan to open the locker, so you don’t even need to find a place to carry a key.

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Among the new features at LEGOLAND is a new 4D movie, LEGO® NEXO KNIGHTS™: The Book of Creativity! But it’s not just a movie – it’s an app too! You can download it before you visit the park, and use it to locate six shields hidden throughout the Park. Interactive!

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This trip to LEGOLAND was special for me because we did it to celebrate my kids’ 9th and 11th birthdays. They are old enough now that I don’t have to worry about them running off and getting lost. They are much more patient waiting in lines, and more responsible. My 9-year-old still takes forever to pick out a souvenir (we limit each child to a $15 bill to keep this expense reasonable), so some things never change. That, plus the fact that their favorite attraction in all of the park is the Fun Town Driving School, where, without lines on a gray April day, my kids drove those cars again and again and again.

Our family’s favorite ride, collectively, has always been Pirate’s Reef, where you get absolutely drenched, but that was closed during this visit. The kids made up for it by getting soaked on Splash Battle.

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Look at those happy faces. Totally worth it.

During the summer season, LEGOLAND CA and its Water Park and SEA LIFE Aquarium are all open later and later, plus they have special events happening all the time. To check out the schedule and to learn about discount ticket options, visit their website.

As an official LEGOLAND blogger, I received two complimentary admission tickets for this trip.