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Cigarette Tax Initiative to Fund Cancer Research Qualifies for Presidential Primary Ballot

A smoke and a view of L.A. | Photo by victoriabernal via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
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It's a long ways away, but a second ballot initiative qualified for the February 7th, 2012 Presidential Primary ballot. That's when California, after this November's election, will have another statewide election, unless a special one is called for like in 2009.

Today's new initiative asks voters to place an additional tax on cigarettes. It would impose a five-cent tax on each cigarette, or $1 per pack. An equivalent tax would be placed on other tobacco products. The money, to be administered by a nine-member committee, would go towards "research and research facilities focused on detecting, preventing, treating, and curing cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and other tobacco-related diseases, and to finance prevention programs," according to the Attorney General's official summary.

It would raise $855 million during the first fiscal year and then decline slightly annually thereafter, predicts the state's Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance.