Cigarette tax touted

Nearly two-thirds of California voters support $2 increase to cigarette tax

A proposal to raise California's tax on cigarettes by $2 a pack is supported by about two-thirds of the state's voters, a Field Poll indicates.

A coalition of health and labor activists introduced the legislation Aug. 26, touting its potential to discourage tobacco use and direct an estimated $1.5 billion to health care programs in its first year, according to The Sacramento Bee. The proceeds would, in part, go toward increasing rates paid to health care providers who serve Medi-Cal beneficiaries.

The poll found 50 percent of voters strongly favor the legislation, while 17 percent somewhat favor it. California's cigarette tax—currently 87 cents a pack—was last increased in 1998, and falls short of at least $1 taxes in 30 other states.