Monday, June 4, 2012
The tax on a pack of cigarettes in California is currently 87 cents. The question before voters in Prop 29 is whether to add a dollar a pack to that tax. Levies on other tobacco products would go up as well.
The measure could raise some 700 million dollars - and the bulk of that money would go towards cancer research and prevention programs. The tax revenues would also pay for a new committee that would decide how the money is spent. The money would not have to be spent in California - and that's been one of the clashing points of the campaign. None of the money would go into the state's general fund.
Opponents include business and tobacco groups, and they've raised more than 45 million dollars. Supporters have raised about a quarter of that - with most coming from the American Cancer Society. Both sides have poured big money into TV ads.