More taxes per pack

Proposed ballot initiatives to place additional taxes on tobacco get big boost

Save Laves California, a coalition of medical and labor groups, recently gave $2 million to back proposed ballot initiatives that would raise California's tax on tobacco and direct that funding toward Medi-Cal, the state's health insurance program for low-income residents.

One initiative seeks to add an additional $2 tax on packs of cigarettes to raise an estimated $1.5 billion per year for smoking prevention programs and smoking-related medical costs borne by taxpayers through Medi-Cal, according to The Sacramento Bee. A second initiative would similarly tax electronic cigarettes.

Previous attempts have faced stiff resistance. Most recently, in 2012, the tobacco industry spent more than $42 million lobbying against Proposition 29, which would have raised the cigarette tax by a dollar but was defeated in the statewide election.