TOBACCO TAX: Nullifying Prop. 10 Would Be “Serious Mistake”
Repealing Proposition 10, a "groundbreaking anti-tobacco initiative that raised the state cigarette tax by 50 cents-per-pack," would be a "serious public-health mistake," according to an editorial in today's New York Times. Noting that California "set an admirable example" for the rest of the nation by passing this measure in 1998, the editors write that the bill not only generates about $680 million annually to fund smoking prevention and an "array of early childhood education and health programs," but also is playing a pivotal role in reducing tobacco consumption. California officials report that the tax increase has caused tobacco sales to fall by 30%. But, the editorial continues, the supporters of the repeal measure Prop. 28 -- spearheaded by a national chain of retail cigarette stores called Cigarettes Cheaper! -- want to "stop the impressive progress California is making." While spending $30 million to attack Prop. 10, the editors write that big tobacco appears to be bowing out of the repeal effort, perhaps "chastened by public dismay at the industry's tactics" and still smarting from their 1998 loss. Noting that even without big tobacco's big money, the "fight will be tough," the editors urge California voters to "do the right thing" and "reaffirm" the tobacco tax by turning down Prop. 28 (2/4).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.