This proposition, despite its many details, is straightforward, and has no surprise consequences. It raises the excise tax (a tax on a specific good) on tobacco products by $2.00 per pack, or equivalent. E-cigarettes, aka vaporizers, which are increasingly being used, are not currently taxed. If passed, this proposition would include e-cigarettes in the "other tobacco products" category, taxing it at $3.37. This new revenue would mostly go to services related to Medi-Cal, with 13% going to tobacco-related research and prevention programs. The main argument against this kind of tax is that it is regressive – it unfairly burdens lower income earners.
One hypothetical cigarette pack
Sales tax (~8%).............+$0.48
Federal excise tax..........+$1.01
State excise tax............+$0.87
If Prop 56 passes...........+$2.00
Compare this $2.87/pack to the high of New York's $4.35/pack tax or Texas' $1.41/pack.
If Prop 56 passes, e-cigarettes would be lumped together with cigars and chew, making it subject to a $3.37 tax.
Excise taxes are used to get people to use less of a certain product. The point of the measure is to get less people to smoke, especially teens.
Because of that, revenue from the tax will ideally decrease over time, but tobacco-related healthcare costs will also decrease. This is intentional. The revenue gain from this tax is an estimated $1.3 billion next year.
Those in opposition of this measure point to where this revenue will go, with the majority (% TBD, but roughly 80%) going to Medi-Cal related services, saying the money is going to "insurance companies and special interests." These opponents, funded primarily by Philip Morris USA
and RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company
, would prefer that the money actually went to addiction prevention.
Here's a more detailed breakdown
of the revenue distribution in Figure 4 and 5.
Others oppose the measure because of the new taxation on e-cigarettes, which can act as a tool to quitting tobacco products.[..]
The CDC is not super keen
that kids are vaping though. No tobacco, but nicotine.
This measure has the second largest amount of money
being spent on it, at close to $75 million.
But you won't be fooled by the propaganda. You now know the facts.