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California Lawmakers Consider Raising Tobacco Taxes

A tobacco tax hike may be on the table in Sacramento, where state lawmakers are trying to figure out how to grapple with a massive budget deficit. Supporters of the idea say it won't be an easy sell.

California's cigarette tax now stands at 87 cents a pack. 31 other states have higher tobacco taxes.

A Democratic proposal in the legislature would raise that tax by $1.50 a pack. That would bring in more than a billion dollars a year.


Debra Kelley is with the San Diego chapter of the American Lung Association. She says it will be tough to get a tax hike passed.

"The tobacco industry really has a strangle hold on certain members of the legislature, and Big Tobacco has spend tens of millions of dollars to kill 14 straight attempts to raise the tobacco tax," Kelley explains.

Polls show most California voters support the idea.