Health Care Coalition Injects $2M Into Campaign To Raise Tobacco Tax
A coalition of health care organizations has spent $2 million in a push to raise California's tobacco tax and use some of the additional money for Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports.
The Save Lives California coalition includes:
- The American Cancer Society;
- The California Dental Association;
- The California Medical Association;
- The Service Employees International Union California State Council; and
- Other groups that promote heart and lung health (White, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 6/21).
Details of Ballot Measures
In May, the coalition submitted two proposed ballot initiatives to increase the state's tobacco tax by $2 per pack. The current state tax on a pack of 20 cigarettes is 87 cents, plus a $1.01 federal tax.
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 smoking-related medical costs shouldered by taxpayers through Medi-Cal.
The second measure would extend the tax to electronic cigarettes if the state approves a pending proposal to label them as tobacco products.
Meanwhile, 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 (California Healthline, 5/5). The bill currently is awaiting a floor vote in the Senate.
Mike Roth, a spokesperson for the coalition, said, "We strongly support securing a legislative remedy that's in the best interest of Californians, but we are ready and willing to go to the ballot if necessary" ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 6/21).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.