June 4, 2012- Some of the country’s toughest laws against smoking are in California. In some places, it is even illegal to light up inside your own apartment. The state also has the second-lowest per capita rate of smoking in the nation. However, it has been over 14 years since the cigarette tax in California has been increased. That in part is due to the power the tobacco industry has in the state.
Nevertheless, it looks like that will be changing as a myriad of anticancer and health groups have rallied behind an initiative that is on the ballot that will impose a cigarette tax of $1 per pack to help finance research for cancer. That in turn has provoked over $47 million in advertisements financed for the most part by the tobacco industry. They are outspending proponents of the initiative by a rate of four to one.
A poll released over two weeks ago showed that the majority of Californians supported the initiative. However, the percentage that supports it has dropped considerably since the advertising campaign paid for by the tobacco industry started.
Many are joining in on the cause. Michael Bloomberg the Mayor of New York donated a half a million dollars in support of the measure, while seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong is the initiative’s chief public supporter. Over the past 30 years, the California Legislature has voted against raising the cigarette tax on at least 30 occasions. Tuesday the vote will take place.