H-CENTRAL COAST

May 24, 2012 9:44 PM by Nikki Ibarra

Cigarettes could cost you more if Proposition 29 passes in June

Smokers could be paying more for the pack of cigarettes, if Proposition 29 passes on June 5th.

The Proposition 29 tax increase would pay for cancer research and support programs. Right now, the tax on cigarettes is .87 cents. And, if could go up to a $1.87 if Proposition 29 passes.

William Moussa has been running his smoke shop for four years now. So far, business is good.

But next month, Californians will be voting on Proposition 29, and William, who's a smoker himself, is a little nervous if it passes. "That's the business I eat from, and I feed my family, too. If I told you I'm not worrying I'd be lying to you but it could be good or it could be bad," said Moussa.

He said some of his customers will stop smoking if the proposition passes.

Last week, the San Luis Obispo County Health Commission voted to support Proposition 29. "One of the things that is very effective for preventing, especially the youth from smoking cigarettes, is the price of a pack," said Penny Borenstein.

Supporters said if it passes, it's expected to bring in $735 million a year in new tax revenue. "I would definitely support anything that helps people to be healthier," said Alyssum Maguire of Alameda.

People who are against it said while cancer research if important, they worry the money won't stay in California, or in the programs it's said to go to.

But William said if it does pass, he's still going to smoke, even if it will cost him a little more. "My body when it asks for a cigarette I'm going to let it have a cigarette. It doesn't matter how much it costs me. It will probably make me work an extra hour for my other pack of cigarette but I'm going to do it," added Moussa.

The last time a cigarette tax increase was on the California ballot was back in 2006, but Proposition 86 didn't pass.

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