California’s Proposition 56 increases taxes on cigarettes in the name of reducing smoking, but critics warn what it really does is impose a regressive tax for special interest groups, and in the process, it will likely create black markets.
California voters will head to the polls on November 8 to decide whether to increase the cost of smoking two dollars per pack in a move that supporters claim will simultaneously increase tax revenue and drastically reduce smoking.
Proponents of the proposition say it will prevent kids from getting addicted to tobacco and asks that smokers pay their “fair share” of health care costs. The group, Yes on 56, also claims that “candy-flavored electronic cigarettes containing nicotine” are being targeted at kids. Another proponent makes an even bolder claim.
“Proposition 56 would get us within spitting distance of wiping out smoking in California completely,” Prof. Stanton A. Glantz of UC San Francisco’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education told the Los Angeles Times.
Opponents of the proposition claim that most of the money will simply be handed over to insurance companies with no guarantee as to what it will be used for: only 13 percent goes to help prevent and reduce smoking, and over a hundred million dollars is allowed for just administration costs.