On Friday, supporters of Proposition 29, a tobacco tax hike ballot initiative, conceded defeat in the June 5 election, the Sacramento Bee reports (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 6/23).
Background on Prop. 29
Prop. 29 would have increased California's tax on cigarettes by $1 per pack to raise funds for cancer research and smoking cessation programs.
It was written by the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association.
Supporters of Prop. 29 said the tax hike would have generated about $600 million annually to fund research on smoking-related conditions such as cancer, heart disease and stroke.
They noted that it also could have produced $179 million each year for tobacco cessation, prevention and enforcement initiatives.
Opponents said that funds raised by Prop. 29 would have created a new bureaucracy and could have been spent on out-of-state research.
The tobacco industry and its allies contributed about $42.6 million toward a campaign to defeat Prop. 29, while supporters of the tax hike proposal, led by a national health coalition, spent nearly $9 million to advocate for the ballot initiative (California Healthline, 6/8).
Details of Concession
According to the secretary of state's office, the tobacco tax hike initiative was losing late Friday by 29,510 votes, with 49.7% of voters supporting the measure and 50.3% of voters opposing it.
Chris Lehman -- campaign manager of Yes on 29 -- said the tally suggested that it would be too difficult for the measure to win because it would require favorable votes on nearly 65% of remaining ballots (Sacramento Bee, 6/23).
Meanwhile, the No on 29 campaign said it would not declare victory until the state releases the final vote count in early July (Willon, Los Angeles Times, 6/23).
In a statement, the Yes on 29 campaign said that it was a "sad day for California" and that tobacco companies led a "misinformation campaign" against the measure.
Supporters of Prop. 29 have said they will ask voters to approve another tobacco tax hike in the future (Sacramento Bee, 6/23).
Beth Miller -- spokesperson for the No on 29 campaign -- said, "We have said from the very beginning that as voters took a closer look at Proposition 29, they would see the glaring flaws in the measure" (Los Angeles Times, 6/23).
On Friday, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reported on Prop. 29 supporters conceding defeat (Adler, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 6/22).