Proposition 56 is about raising the tobacco tax in California by two dollars per package. Only 12 percent of adults in California smoke — second lowest only to Utah. However, California is also the state with the most smokers overall, because it's the most populous state. And in the last couple of years, e-cigarettes have become more and more popular.
The tax on a pack of cigarettes in California is only 87 cents. That’s one of the lowest taxes in the nation. These days, an average pack of cigarettes in the state costs almost $6. If Prop 56 passes, the cost would rise to almost $8.
Prop 56 would bring in almost $1.5 billion next fiscal year. Proponents think it would result in fewer smokers, so less money in successive years. The extra money would go to fund health, prevention and research.
There's a lot of funding going to support Prop 56. More than 20 million dollars, mostly by health advocates. But the opposing campaign, mostly funded by tobacco companies, have spent 56 million dollars.
Nevertheless, it’s up to voters to decide if we raise the tobacco tax by two dollars.
Citizen respondents to KALW's elections call-out contributed to this piece. It's part of our community reporting project.