The state cigarette tax rises by $2 a pack on Saturday, more than doubling the current 87-cent tax. Taxes also will rise for other tobacco and vaping products.
Voters approved the tax increase in November. It's projected to raise up to $1.4 billion a year.
Much of the money is earmarked for Medi-Cal, a health plan for people with low incomes jointly funded by the state and federal governments.
Anti-smoking groups say the higher tax will encourage people to quit smoking or never to start.
California lawmakers approved a spate of other anti-tobacco measures last year, including increasing the smoking age from 18 to 21.
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