Religious Group Advocates for Tobacco Tax
Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community members on Tuesday will visit San Francisco to urge California voters to approve a November ballot initiative that would increase the state tobacco tax by $2.60 per pack to fund health programs, the Contra Costa Times reports.
Advocates of Proposition 86 say it would generate an estimated $2.1 billion annually, with some proceeds used to fund health insurance for about 800,000 uninsured children in the state. Funds also would be used for prevention and treatment of smoking-related illnesses, medical research and emergency medical services.
The Department of Health Services estimates the measure would reduce teen smoking rates in California by 43%.
Opponents of the initiative say hospitals would receive too much of the funding, while not enough would go toward smoking cessation and treatment programs. Opponents also say the measure would increase black market sales of cigarettes in the state (Rosen Lum, Contra Costa Times, 9/12).