There aren't many statewide propositions on the June 5 primary election ballot, but one in particular is drawing controversy.
Proposition 29 would add an additional $1 tax to each pack of cigarettes sold in California, bringing the total per-pack tax to $1.87. The $1 increase is estimated to generate more than $700 million annually, with most of the revenue going toward cancer research.
The tobacco industry opposes the measure and has been spending heavily to defeat it. Ads opposing Prop 29 point out that a new bureaucracy with little accountability to the people will be created to oversee the funds.
The Los Angeles Times editorial board came out against the proposal, saying the state of California has more pressing needs than paying for medical research—like keeping schools and parks open. Tobacco taxes also often face criticism that they are regressive, hitting poor people the hardest.
Proponents, however, point to studies showing that boosting taxes on tobacco can influence smokers to quit.
A recent poll showed California voters supporting the tax, 50 percent to 42 percent.
According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, 11.1 percent of Marina del Rey residents smoke, compared to 14 percent in Los Angeles County.
Do you support the proposed tobacco tax? If you smoke, would you try harder to quit if cigarette prices go up? Vote in our poll and share your comments below.