Voters in California Narrowly Reject $1-Per-Pack Tobacco Tax
Voters in California narrowly rejected a measure that would have added a $1-per-pack tax on cigarettes. Reuters reports 50.8 percent of voters were against the measure, while 49.2 percent were in favor of it. Early Wednesday morning, the vote was still too close to call.
The measure, Proposition 29, received heavy support in the San Francisco Bay area, while conservative counties in Southern California opposed it, the article notes. Proposition 29, which was popular among voters earlier this year, lost support due to a $50 million ad campaign funded by the tobacco industry. The campaign raised questions about who would oversee revenue raised by the measure, how it would be spent, and whether it would stay in the state.
The proposal called for 60 percent of the money raised to be used to support research on the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and potential cures for tobacco-related diseases. An additional 15 percent would have been used to build or lease facilities, or to be spent on equipment, while 20 percent would have been used for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. The remaining 5 percent would have been used for law enforcement programs to reduce illegal sales to minors and smuggling, and administrative costs.
The initiative attracted national attention. Supporters included New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and seven-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong.