Poll: Two-thirds of likely California voters support cigarette tax hike

October 02, 2015
Area(s) of Interest: Access to Care Advocacy Public Health 

A new poll released on Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) shows that 66 percent of California’s likely voters are in favor of raising taxes on cigarette purchases — an idea also supported by many health and labor organizations across the state, including the California Medical Association (CMA).

Increasing California’s cigarette tax received strong support across political affiliations, with the majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents all in favor. The poll found that 76 percent of Democrats, 53 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of independents supported the tax hike.

“As the legislature and proponents of tax initiatives search for new revenue sources, the proposal to increase cigarette taxes stands out because it has majority support across party lines,” said PPIC President and CEO Mark Baldassare.

Just over 1,700 California adults were surveyed for the poll, which also sought public opinion on other issues, such as the proposed extension of Proposition 30’s temporary tax increases and the proposed extraction tax on oil and gas. The full report can be found here.

Tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of death and disease in California, killing tens of thousands of people every year and costing the state $9 billion in health care annually. The state’s current $0.87 per pack tax on cigarettes ranks 35th among other states.

CMA has joined the Save Lives California coalition as a staunch supporter of an initiative to increase the state’s tobacco tax by $2 per pack. The initiative would not only save lives by preventing death and disease associated with tobacco use, but it would also help fund California’s health care system.

If the California legislature does not implement a $2 per pack tax hike, the coalition has said it is prepared to take the initiative to voters in 2016.


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