Prop 29, Up In Smoke?
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
An initiative to put a one dollar tax hike on tobacco may go up in flames if the no votes on Proposition 29 keep the lead.
Proposition 29 would use the tax on tabacco to fund cancer research. Proponents of the measure include cancer-research advocate and cyclist Lance Armstrong. Big Tabacco came out in full force against the measure.
Although initial figures suggested voters would approve them measure, even some voters against smoking changed their mind on the measure at the polls.
"I was going to vote in favor of it," said Palm Desert voter Chick Duby. "But then when we read more about it it looked like it was a poorly written law," he said.
Results show the "no" votes outpace the yes votes, but just barely. The no votes lead by about 60,000 votes.
"The fact that everybody wants to dumb on people who smoke, it's unfortunate," said Palm Desert voter Debra Halbert who said she voted no on Prop 29.
Part of that lead came from smokers who voted amid low turnout across the state.
"A dollar extra for cigarettes? I haven't given them up yet," said Palm Desert voter Frenchell Degrate, who said the tax measure brought him to the polls.
Big tabacco outspent the campaign for the cigarette tax. They spent nearly $50 million dollar to convince California's to vote down the measure.
"Mostly what influenced me was the commercials they had about California taxes very possibly not being spent on california jobs. I think California taxes should go to promote California," said Marsha McKinney, who lives in the Coachella Valley.
But others pointed to the big tabacco companies behind the advertising as reason to vote for the measure.
"I don't care where the jobs go. I don't think it needs to be just in California, and I was very annoyed that the big tobacco companies were promoting so heavily that people vote against it," said Judy Cours, of San Diego.
As vote counting continues, neither side in the prop 29 battle is claiming a victory just yet.
Jessica Flores, KMIR6 News