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Advocates Push For Another Tobacco Tax Ballot Measure

Advocates Push For Another Tobacco Tax Ballot Measure
A coalition of public health groups will try to put a measure to raise California's tobacco tax on November's ballot.

The last effort to raise California's tobacco tax at the ballot box was narrowly defeated.

Now, a coalition of public health groups, including the California Medical Association, wants to give it another try in November.

The proposed measure would raise the state's tobacco tax by $2-a-pack. Most of the proposed revenue, estimated to be more than $1 billion annually, would go to Medi-Cal and other health programs.

Debra Kelley, the American Lung Association's director of programs and advocacy for San Diego and Imperial counties, said the state's current tax is a paltry 87 cents a pack.

"It’s really a disgrace to see that California’s tobacco tax, which was once the highest in the nation and which was doing so much good for the state of California, is now only 33rd highest," Kelley said.

Supporters say raising the cost of cigarettes is the most effective way to reduce smoking.

Tobacco companies and other opponents spent nearly $47 million to defeat the 2012 ballot measure.