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Davis, California

Friday, June 21, 2024

Editorial: Cigarette tax

California voters may soon be faced with the option to increase the tax on cigarettes from 87 cents a pack to $1.87.

Though it is unclear when California voters will have the chance to increase taxes on tobacco products, efforts to do so should be supported and encouraged. Taxes are a good motivator to end bad habits.

This extra dollar would fund research on cancer and tobacco-related illnesses, tobacco-prevention and anti-tobacco legislation, among other things.

Though the Tea Party and other anti-tax Californians take issue with larger fees, the loudest opposition has come from tobacco companies and their affiliates, who have successfully prevented tax increases since 1999.

It’s about time that we stop letting Big Tobacco kill legislation and their customers.

It is predicted that increasing the tax will decrease tax revenue, as tobacco sales will decline. Essentially, less smoking means less money to fund anti-smoking campaigns.

But is this really an issue? No programs should come at the expense of human lives.

There is no clear evidence that programs funded by cigarette taxes would be hurt. Institutions like First 5 – a program that, in part, helps new parents stop smoking – are guaranteed a restoration of funding as tobacco sales go down.

Opponents point out that this may increase state spending and further indebt the state. If there are provisions to provide funding for anti-tobacco groups regardless of tobacco sales, the money will undoubtedly have to come from another source.

But if people buy less tobacco, there is less need for anti-tobacco organizations. The problem takes care of itself.


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