Initiative for Cigarette Price Hike Hits Circulation

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SACRAMENTO-

An initiative to increase the price of cigarettes per pack by $2 passed a major hurdle Thursday.

The Secretary of State has cleared the way for proponent Lance Olson to start collecting signatures for the measure.

By the end of May, 504,760 signatures would need to be collected.

The thought of the plan coming to fruition has some businesses fired up.

“Profits right now are really low now because of all the taxes on it, it would be really horrible for our business,” said Amanda Westphalen, she’s worked at Cigarettes & More for 10 years.

If the half million valid signatures are collected, measure 1618 would go on a ballot for voters to make the ultimate decision.

“If this was $2.00 more I wouldn’t be smoking right now, “said smoker Travis Britton.

It’s estimated the new tax would be a cash cow for the state, raking in up to $1-billion dollars from 2015-2016.

The additional revenue would fund healthcare tobacco use prevention, research, and law enforcement.

The measure has safe guards in place in case people stop smoking because of the tax, money will be allocated to keep existing tobacco programs running.

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