Pass Proposition 29, help save lives

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Proposition 29, the Tobacco Tax for Cancer Research Act, which is basically a sin tax, imposes a tax of $1 on a pack of cigarettes. California?s current existing cigarette tax is 87 cents per pack, well below the national average of $1.46. Smoking costs California taxpayers billions annually in medical care to treat people with tobacco-related diseases through Medi-Cal, Medicare and other public health programs. Passing 29 will cut that amount substantially when cures are found through 29?s funding for cancer research and tobacco-related diseases. Tobacco companies (?Big Tobacco?) are vehemently against the initiative. They?ve already pumped about $39.9 million into their campaign to defeat Prop. 29 so far. Smokers don?t like it much either, but the lives saved outweigh any inconvenience suffered by smokers from the tax. Big Tobacco wants a reasonably priced product that people will get hooked on, so they can maximize profits. Since smokers die every day from smoking, Big Tobacco needs more smokers to replenish the supply of smokers that die, which makes good business sense, but not good moral sense. Many Californians say the Golden State is about due for a new tax hike, even if it?s a sin tax. It?s been a while since California has had a tobacco tax increase. The last time California raised a tax on tobacco was in 1999. Big Tobacco has been successful in foiling every outside attempt to tax cigarettes for 13 years. A tax on cigarettes is way past due. Prop. 29 is the right thing to do. David Briceno, Grass Valley