State Senator Proposes Tobacco Tax Increase To Fund Health Programs

TOPIC ALERT:

A new bill (SB 768), by state Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), would increase taxes on cigarettes to pay for health care programs, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports.

California's cigarette tax currently is $0.87 per pack.

Details of Bill

The legislation would implement a $2-per-pack increase in cigarette taxes, which is estimated to yield $1.2 billion in annual revenue.

Health programs that focus on promoting access to care and tobacco-related health services likely would receive the funding.

Greg Hayes, communications director for de León, said the senator hopes that the supermajority of Democrats in the Legislature will help advance the measure.

Support for Bill

Various proponents of increasing cigarette taxes have expressed support for the bill, including:

  • American Cancer Society;
  • American Heart Association;
  • American Lung Association;
  • Health Access California; and
  • Service Employees International Union (Van Oot, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 4/17).
Lori Bremner
The best way to contain health care costs is to keep people from getting sick. One of the best ways to keep people from getting sick is to help smokers quit and to help kids fom ever starting to smoke. The state has an effective tobacco control program, but it is dramatically underfunded according to the CDC. It's great that funds from this "user fee" would reinvest in that important program!

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