Yes on 56: Higher cigarette taxes

Crystal Zhong/Staff

Proposition 56 would increase cigarette taxes by $2, bringing them to a lofty $2.87 per pack. That’s substantial, and necessary.

It further disincentivizes the purchase of cigarettes and will doubtlessly reduce the prevalence of smoking and secondhand smoke in California communities.

As of now, California has one of the lowest tobacco taxes in the nation at 87 cents. The national average is $1.63, and New York City’s cigarette tax is more than $4. It’s past time for California to catch up.

The revenue from the added tax is going to Medi-CAL — where it will, at times, help people who suffer from smoking-related ailments, including lung cancer and emphysema.

And the tax increase applies to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

There are myriad negative health effects of smoking, as research has shown time and time again. Partaking is irresponsible, and the argument that people should have the right to destroy their own bodies would hold true only if secondhand smoke and taxpayer-sponsored health care didn’t make this a community problem.

So vote yes on Proposition 56. For some, it will be tough to adjust to, but that might just be the wake-up call big tobacco needs to release its grip on suffering communities.

Endorsements represent the majority opinion of the Senior Editorial Board as written by the opinion editor.