Proponents of California Tobacco Tax Increase Concede Defeat

Light up, California! You have no worries.

It turns out that, with just a few days left to count and certify ballots, proponents of Proposition 29 are officially conceding that the measure will not pass. The measure, which landed on ballots this month, would have increased the state tax on tobacco in the Golden State by about a buck a pack.

Morgan Binswanger, of Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong Foundation said this about the defeat:

This is a setback for cancer control, an assault on cancer survivors and a missed opportunity for the improved health of families.

After the vote, both sides initially claimed victory, saying that it was too close to call. But now that most of the 5,000,000 votes (a dismal showing considering that the state has a voting age population of nearly 28 million) have been cast, supporters of the measure believe that they will not have enough votes to push the increase through; most of those areas with ballots yet to be counted were not in favor of the measure. The final vote will likely reflect a win for the opposition by less than 1%.

But that kind of margin was still encouraging for supporters, many of whom vowed to give it another go. Others aren’t so sure, noting California’a ballooning state deficit.

What is sure is that other states will take up the fight. Votes on tax increases for tobacco are on tap for Massachusetts, Missouri, Illinois, Rhode Island and Armstrong’s home state of Texas. Livestrong has already committed to the fight in the latter, noting:

We are already hard at work on our efforts to champion the passage of smoke-free legislation in Texas next year and are hopeful about its chances.

Is a tobacco tax increase coming next to a state near you?

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