$2 Tax Hike on Cigarettes Goes Into Effect; Other Tobacco Products Also Affected

The $2 tax hike on a pack of cigarettes that voters approved in Nov. 2016 goes into effect Saturday.

Proposition 56 passed on Nov. 8.

Similar measures failed to pass in 2006 and 2012, but backers were able to raise more funds for the 2016 measure, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The tax is now $2.87, after not having been raised in about 20 years, the newspaper reported.

Other tobacco products, like smokeless tobacco and cigars, will also have a tax increase, as well as e-cigarettes, which contain nicotine.

Proponents of the tax increase said it would prevent children from smoking and “save lives.”

Dr. Ray Casciari, a lung specialist at St. Joseph Hospital, said that evidence shows higher cigarette prices can deter some smokers.

“The hardcore people will still do it,” Casciari said about smokers. “But the teens or the non-hardcore people, they may start to think about it a little more.”

Revenue from the tax hike will go to health care for low-income Californians.