California voters weigh $1 per pack cigarette tax

Topics: From the Wires,

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California voters are deciding whether to approve a tobacco tax that pits Lance Armstrong against major cigarette makers in a multimillion-dollar fight.

The initiative on Tuesday’s ballot, Proposition 29, would impose a $1 per pack tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products to raise money for cancer research and anti-smoking programs.

Armstrong, the cycling legend and cancer survivor, has been the driving force behind the plan.

Opponents, including tobacco industry giants, have put nearly $50 million into an ad campaign fighting the plan, compared with nearly $18 million raised by supporters.

Critics say the initiative will create an unaccountable bureaucracy and hurt the economy by sending tax money to other states.

An extra tax in the nation’s most populous state also could mean major losses for tobacco companies.

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