Supporters, Opponents Debate Effect of Tobacco Tax Measure
Supporters of the tobacco tax initiative on November's ballot -- Proposition 86 -- say it will reduce smoking in California, the Ventura County Star reports. The measure would increase the state tobacco tax by 300%, or $2.60, per pack to fund hospital emergency departments, children's health insurance and medical research, among other programs.
According to the Department of Health Services, the state adult smoking rate has declined by 38% since taxes on tobacco products were raised in 1988.
However, opponents of the measure, including tobacco companies, say the funds generated by the taxes eventually will fall as people quit smoking, possibly leading the state to increase other taxes to fund the new programs. Other opponents of the measure say the tax could increase cigarette trafficking and make it difficult for the state to collect sales tax on cigarettes purchased through the Internet (Hoops, Ventura County Star, 8/7).