What California’s cigarette tax could mean for smokers
The Christian Science Monitor - 07/05/2016
California’s upcoming ballot is smoking. This November voters will decide on whether to legalize recreational marijuana and, as state officials announced yesterday, on whether a $2 tax should be added to every pack of cigarettes and electronic cigarette products.
“States are responsible for people’s health care and picking up that tab, and so originally a lot of the impetus for looking at industry solutions was looking at the state expenditures on Medicare and Medicaid and the overwhelming cost associated with smoking-related illness,” Ilana Knopf of the Public Health and Tobacco Policy Center at Northeastern University Law School in Boston tells The Christian Science Monitor.
Ms. Knopf says that the idea behind tobacco taxation is not to penalize the user or the local retailer, but “to hold the industry accountable” for their marketing campaigns and the burden that they put on public health and health care.
Ideally, she says, the money from taxes would go directly into funding programs that raise awareness about smoking hazards or help smoking cessation. Similar measures are part of the California plan for the up to $1.6 billion that the elevated cigarette tax would raise each year, which the campaign says would fund treatment and research for tobacco-related diseases.