Proposition 29: Will new tobacco tax for cancer research go up in smoke?

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32693 full

Under Proposition 29, which is on the June 5 ballot, the tax on a pack of cigarettes would increase by $1 and those additional revenues would be used to fund cancer research and anti-smoking efforts.

With Proposition 29, the tax on cigarettes would increase from 87 cents to $1.87 per pack. The California Legislative Analyst’s Office expects the tax to generate $735 million a year in new revenues. That money would go into the California Cancer Research Life Sciences Innovation Trust Fund, where:

  • 60 percent would go toward prevention, diagnosis, treatment and potential cures for cancer
  • 20 percent would be used for tobacco prevention and cessation programs
  • 15 percent would be used to lease buildings and provide capital for research on cancer and tobacco-related diseases
  • 3 percent would go to state agencies to reduce cigarette smuggling and the sale of tobacco to minors
  • 2 percent would go to administrative costs.

A nine-member committee made up of three University of California chancellors, three cancer center directors, two representatives from disease advocacy groups and one person from a California academic medical center would manage the tax revenue.

Proposition 29 is opposed by Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds and the California Republican Party, among others, with groups spending $40 million to defeat the measure. The American Cancer Society and Lance Armstrong Foundation have donated money in support of Prop 29.

Six years ago, California voters were asked to approve Proposition 86, which would have taxed tobacco by an additional $2.60 a pack. That measure failed.

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