¡Ahora en Español!
56
increases the tax on e-cigs and tobacco products by $2
Summary
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.
Complexity of issue: 🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔
Money involved: 💸💸💸💸💸
Lopsided support? towards Yes

How much for a pack then?
One hypothetical cigarette pack

Retail price.................$6.00
Sales tax (~8%).............+$0.48
Federal excise tax..........+$1.01
State excise tax............+$0.87
If Prop 56 passes...........+$2.00
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
                            $10.36


Compare this $2.87/pack to the high of New York's $4.35/pack tax or Texas' $1.41/pack.[2] If Prop 56 passes, e-cigarettes would be lumped together with cigars and chew, making it subject to a $3.37 tax.
And where's the money going to go?
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.[3]

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.[2] 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.[4] But you won't be fooled by the propaganda. You now know the facts.
Abridged, fact-checked rendition of a KQED podcast debate
Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death. And tax-payers pay $3.5 billion a year in tobacco-related healthcare costs.
The tobacco is not the point. The tax money is mostly benefitting insurance companies.
Money will go to tobacco-prevention programs and Medi-Cal – and every dollar to Medi-Cal will be matched by the Federal government, per usual.
13% will go to prevention, more than 80% will go to Medi-Cal, which then just get rolled to the insurance companies.
Medi-Cal is the state of CA. It's necessary to work with insurance companies to work with smokers to get them to quit.
Your tax is regressive. It targets those in the lower socioeconomic rungs, unfairly burdens the poor, and diverts the money to insurance companies.
Medi-Cal is aimed at exactly those people. 1 in 3 Californians use Medi-Cal. Isn't the goal to improve their health by getting them to smoke less?
More reading
Information last updated: Oct 4, 2016

Mostly impartial information
[1] Full text of the proposition
[2] Ballotpedia details
[3] Legislative Analyst's Office summary
[$] Voter's Edge: where's the money coming from?
[4] Sac Bee Money Trail: see how much is being spent
[5] KQED podcast: live debate
Arguments FOR Prop 56
[6] SF Chronicle Editorial
[7] San Jose Mercury News editorial
Arguments AGAINST Prop 56
[8] Why 'sin taxes' don't work
[9] Poor spend bigger percentage on smoking
[10] OC Register Editorial Board: 56 not consistent with "saving lives"

Note: we intentionally omit the official arguments/rebuttals found in the official voter guide. We believe they exaggerate claims, mislead through emotions, and use ALL CAPS irresponsibly.