Election Results: California Approves Prop 56 Initiative to Increase Cigarette Tax

In this file photo, a woman smokes a cigarette in Miami. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In this file photo, a woman smokes a cigarette in Miami. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

After voters twice turned back attempts to raise the state’s tobacco tax over the last decade, California looks poised to pass Proposition 56, which would increase the cigarette tax by $2 per pack.

Proposition 56 leads 62.4% to 37.6% in late returns, according to the secretary of state’s office.

“Smoking is the number one cause of avoidable death in the state of California,” said Democratic donor Tom Steyer, who was the co-chairman of the Proposition 56 campaign. “We had a broader coalition to support the idea of pushing back against the tobacco companies and raising the cigarette tax than ever before. We believe that that kind of broad coalition works against organized and concentrated economic interests when we stick together and when we all turn out and vote.”

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that Proposition 56 could raise at least $1.3 billion a year, with most of the money going toward the state’s Medi-Cal health care program for low-income residents.

Click here to read the full story on LATimes.com.