Update 8:15 p.m. - Early results seem to indicate that California's Proposition 29 has failed by the narrowest of margins -- 49.2 for and 50.8 percent against.
Original Post - Noon, Wednesday, June 6
The vote Tuesday on a proposed $1-a-pack cigarette tax in California, Proposition 29, is still too close to call. Supporters of the increase are ahead by less than 2 percent (as of about noon on Wednesday), but some votes have not yet been counted.
The tobacco industry and proponents of the tax reportedly spent millions on ads in California. The tax money, if Prop 29 is approved, would support cancer research, smoking reduction programs, and tobacco law enforcement, according to Ballotpedia.org.
As of Jan. 1 this year, California smokers were paying 87-cents per pack in taxes, so the $1 additional tax would more than double cigarette taxes there.
Californians pay almost three times as much as Virginians do in per-pack taxes. Virginia smokers pay just 30 cents per pack, the lowest tax rate in the nation. An effort in the state legislature to increase that failed in January.
New York smokers pay the most tax ($4.35 in taxes per pack) and the nationwide average for taxes on a pack of cigarettes is $1.46, according to TobaccoFreeKids.org
A recent study showed increasing cigarette taxes may help decrease smoking during pregnancy. The study will be released in the July edition of American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
If you lived in California, would you have voted for or against Prop 29? What do you think about Virginia’s cigarette tax rate? Vote in our poll or leave a comment.