Coalition Proposes Ballot Initiatives To Increase Calif. Cigarette Tax
On Monday, the Save Lives California coalition submitted two proposed ballot initiatives to increase the state's tobacco tax by $2 per pack, the Los Angeles Times' "PolitiCal" reports (McGreevy , "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 5/4).
The current state tax on a pack of 20 cigarettes is 87 cents, plus a $1.01 federal tax (California Healthline, 3/4).
Details of Proposed Initiatives
The coalition -- which includes health and labor groups, such as the American Heart Association, American Lung Association and California Medical Association -- filed the two ballot measures with the state Office of the Attorney General (Cadelago, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 5/4).
One initiative seeks to add an additional $2 tax per pack of cigarettes in an effort to raise $1.5 billion per year for smoking prevention programs and related medical costs shouldered by taxpayers through Medi-Cal. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
The second measure would extend the tax to electronic cigarettes if the state approves a pending proposal to label them as tobacco products.
According to "PolitiCal," the coalition will decide at a later time which of the two initiatives to put on the ballot.
Coalition spokesperson Michael Roth said the groups are prepared to raise tens of millions of dollars to help campaign for whichever ballot initiative is chosen.
However, he noted that the coalition supports a bill (SB 591) by state Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) that also aims to add an extra $2 tax to packs of cigarettes.
Roth said, "It is still our top priority to work that bill as we are keeping all of our options open" (McGreevy , "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 5/4).
Assembly Extends Ban on E-Cigarette Sales to Minors
In related news, the California Assembly on Monday unanimously voted to approve a bill (AB 216) to broaden the state's ban on e-cigarette sales to minors to include devices that are sold without nicotine cartridges, the Los Angeles Times' "PolitiCal" reports.
Assembly member Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) said during the vote, "These e-cigarettes and vape pens often target a younger audience" (McGreevy , "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 5/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.