Smoking could become more expensive in California
Smokers in California may see a hike in the cost of cigarettes if a certain tax on tobacco products is approved. Currently, Save Lives California Coalition is making strives to increase the tobacco tax by $2.00. The billionaire and philanthropist Tom Steyer is backing the campaign in order to help to improve the health of Californians.
Currently, tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable deaths in the state of California. Steyer along with American Cancer Society, the American Heart Assn., the American Lung Assn. and the Service Employees International Union believes that a higher tax on such products can help to reduce the number of deaths caused by tobacco products.
Steyer is so dedicated to the cause that he has contributed $74 million of his own money to aid the tobacco tax campaign. Some of the money has been used to collect signatures so that the tax increase can be qualified for the November 8 ballot. In order to qualify the campaign needs to collect 585,407 signatures from registered voters.
If the tax is passed, then California will increase from 87 cents to $2.87 per pack of cigarettes. This tax increase will be the first since 1998. California’s lag on increasing the tobacco tax has allowed it to hold its place as the 36th lowest state tobacco tax in the nation. Even with a $2.00 increase California will still not have the highest tobacco tax in the country. Currently states like New York are in the lead. In this state the current tobacco tax is an unbelievable $4.35 per pack.
Campaigners hope that a tax increase will help to deter people from smoking and influence smokers to kick the habit completely. In addition to possibly reducing the number of smokers in this campaign is forecasted to raise about $1 Billion dollars annually. Supporters of the tax stated that this huge amount of money can help save lives and increase the health of a number of Californians. With $1 billion annually Medi-Cal coverage can be given to individuals that are not able to and also programs can be created to help provide treatment for tobacco-related diseases and to reduce smoking.
Though this campaign can help to increase the health of many individuals living in California, there are a number of individuals that oppose it. One of these individuals is David Sutton. Sutton is a spokesperson for Altria, which is one of the largest tobacco and cigarette companies in the world. Sutton has made known that he and his clients are reviewing the campaign and what it is trying to accomplish and as a result, he and the tobacco company that he is representing is considering options and/or alternatives that are available.
This is not the first time that attempts have been made to increase the tax on California tobacco products. Numerous campaigns have attempted to raise the tax, but the increase was blocked thanks to the help of the tobacco industry.
If the tax on tobacco products is increased then the tobacco company could lose much revenue. In the event that the tax does increase some smokers may find that smoking is an expensive habit that is no longer affordable, if this occurs the smokers may decide to quit smoking. Less people smoking means that less people will be purchasing tobacco products.