SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — With fewer people smoking these days, the amount of tax revenue that California gets from tobacco sales is going up in smoke – but that could soon change.
Efforts are underway to qualify a measure for the November ballot that would raise the tax on tobacco products by $2 per pack.
Breathe California, which is dedicated to fighting lung cancer and lung disease believes that the tax would help both smokers, and non-smokers.
“What you’re going to find is, smokers are going to decrease the amount that they’re smoking because it’s more expensive. It’s going to decrease the amount of youth that are using it, because it’s very expensive. It’ll increase the amount of revenue we’re getting for health costs,” Breathe California Executive Director Illyasha Peete said.
Some smokers don’t see a tax hike as a deterrent.
“I don’t know if necessarily for the majority it’s going to deter people from buying it. They want it, they’re gonna buy it. It’s like gas. You know, gas prices go up, but people still buy it,” said a man who identified himself as “Wayne.”
New York imposes a more than $4 per pack tax on cigarettes, compared to $.87 cents in California.