about to go up in California.
The state cigarette tax rises by $2 a pack on Saturday, more than doubling the current 87-cent tax. Taxes also will rise for other tobacco and vaping products.
Voters approved the tax increase in November. It’s projected to raise up to $1.4 billion a year.
For smokers, the increase could prove a real hardship.
“Poor people have to smoke. I have a lot of stress,” smoker Marta Reyes said. “I lost two sisters. I only have one left. Too much stress.”
Much of the money is earmarked for Medi-Cal, a health plan for people with low incomes jointly funded by the state and federal governments.
Anti-smoking groups say the higher tax will encourage people to quit smoking or never to start.
California lawmakers approved a spate of other anti-tobacco measures last year, including increasing the smoking age from 18 to 21.