Cigarette tax’s fate cloudy 

click to enlarge Pack cash: Increased cigarette taxes would be used to fund cancer research and smoking prevention measures. - S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • S.F. Examiner File Photo
  • Pack cash: Increased cigarette taxes would be used to fund cancer research and smoking prevention measures.

Whether smokers will soon pay $1 more per pack for a tax that would go to fund cancer research remained unclear Tuesday as the results were too close to call.

Proposition 29 would raise the state’s excise tax on a pack of cigarettes from 87 cents to $1.87. Revenue from the measure, estimated at about $735 million in the first year, would be used to fund research on cancer and tobacco-related diseases, and for smoking prevention measures.

The average retail price for a pack of cigarettes in California is currently $5.

Proponents of the initiative included the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association and the American Heart Association. They argued that raising the cost of tobacco would help smokers quit and also deter more children from taking up smoking.

Opposition to the measure was funded primarily by the tobacco industry. Among opponents’ arguments were that there would be no guarantee the money would be spent in California.

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Ari Burack

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