Smokers in California would see a hefty tax increase on their cigarettes under a bill reintroduced today in the Legislature. The tax would fund treatment for Medi-Cal patients with smoking-related illnesses.
Democratic Senator Richard Pan says the measure he reintroduced today is part of a package of bills to curb smoking.
“Every state bordering California has a higher tobacco tax. In fact, we have one of the lowest tobacco taxes in the country. Even Texas has a higher tobacco tax than California right now,” says Pan.
Other measures would increase the age limit to buy tobacco to 21, regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products and close loopholes in smoke-free workplace laws.
Representatives for tobacco and e-cigarette companies declined comment. A spokeswoman for a coalition of business and taxpayer groups said it remains opposed to raising the cigarette tax.
Pan says the levy would fund treatment for Medi-Cal patients with smoking-related illnesses.
The Senate could vote on the bills as soon as tomorrow.