In 2012, a state proposition to raise the California tobacco tax rate failed by one-half of 1 percent of the vote. Now, health advocates are trying again with Proposition 56.
California has one of the lower tobacco tax rates in the country, and tobacco taxes haven’t been raised since 1998. If Proposition 56 is approved, the state would have one of the highest, rising from 87 cents to $2.87 per pack of cigarettes. (New York is No. 1 at $4.35 per pack.) The tax would also apply to other tobacco products, such as cigars. This time around, e-cigarettes are included.
Research shows that raising the price of cigarettes helps prevent teens and young adults from taking up the habit. The higher price can also help motivate current smokers to quit. Backers of the measure say that helping people quit or never start smoking at all will save lives. In addition, the tax would raise a lot of money.