Prop. 29: If You Ask Me, ‘Sin Taxes’ Are …

a small angel smoke a cigarette

"Sin taxes" are sometimes used by governments to deter people from harmful behaviors. Image: Getty Images

On June 5, Californians will be asked to vote on Proposition 29. If approved, the measure would increase cigarette taxes by $1.00 per pack, with the revenue going toward cancer research and smoking prevention programs.

This tax is an example of a “sin tax,” an excise tax used by governments to deter harmful behaviors.

We’re asking you: Should the government impose “sin taxes” on behaviors that have societal costs?

  • Anonymous

    Prop 29 is not a sin tax, it is a use tax. The tax collected goes to offset the cost of tobacco users on society. If the collected tax went to the general coffers, or some unrelated use, then it would be a sin tax.

    • Ryan Singel

      Cigarette taxes already cover more than the health costs caused by smoking. Increased fees on top of that are “sin” taxes, and what’s more – they are regressive taxes that disproportionately hit the poor and middle class. Unfortunately, moralistic busybodies of all political persuasions don’t care about that (I’m not saying that is you) – they just think smokers are bad people and should be taxed more.

      • Anonymous

        The taxes hit the poor and middle class because that is who the tobacco companies are targeting.  Go out and make a map of where high concentrations of liquor and tobacco stores are.  Right where the poor folks can get to them.  Get a clue.  The tobacco companies make fat profits from all these folks, kill them, and then replace them with kids.  If we can create a financial roadblock which helps these people quit and take the small amount of money they have to buy food and pay for rent for their families, I am all for it.

  • DrCarillo

    There are already two taxes on tobacco and it helps no one but the pockets it lines. Anti tobacco ads are absurd, waste of money and time, and cause people to want to rebel by smoking. The latter is just another industry extorting the people. Force cigarette manufacturers to produce clean no chemical enhanced products. Promote air filtering systems to clean pollution as well as second hand smoke. Insurance, gov’t , and other institutions take your money for their gain, not smokers or fatties.

  • DrCarillo

    Furthermore, we are bombarded with anti negative ads from all angles around the clock which cause stress, anxiety, and depression: all the latter causing disease, premature death, the willingness to smoke, and lessens the quality of life as well as infringe on our individual freedoms to live and watch TV in peace. Depression, anxiety, and stress cause hypertension among other symptoms that cause the body to deteriorate. Everyone should study up and check out some basic medical information before pointing fingers: it’s help all of us.

  • 斯蒂芬


  • Jackpratt

    Those who take risks and fail cost tax payers. Either the risk taker or the provider of risk taking products should cover all cost including social costs of their product. If I drive a car I must insure I can cover the cost of damages to self and others.

  • Kurt

    Using the database of the 2009 California Health Interview Survey on the internet   ( Ask CHIS.) to analyze annual household income by number of cigarettes smoked per day, about 60%* of the revenues are paid by household incomes under $50,000 (Very roughly, this is the poverty and the working-poor levels). 

    If we follow the money (i.e. those who pay the tax and those who receive the benefits) on this quick back-of-the-envelop calculation, we see the lower incomes are paying for the higher earning professions (those associated with research).I am not only a non-smoker, but an anti-smoker. I have seen the pain of this addiction close up. It is tough to kick this habit. I want to prevent any more of my kids from starting this very bad habit, but to take about $480,000,000 (= New cig Tax Revenue $810m * 60%) from the more needy to support a very noble cause is troubling to me. Also, will the needy really stop smoking as this Prop 29 suggests, or will they take the money from some other pot (kid clothes, food, transportation)? I do not know what the quit rates are. This seems like a key fact to know, but I have not seen yet; and I need to vote tomorrow. With so much money involved, I would have liked to seen a better analysis by the CA Legislative Analyst.*Assumes the mid-point in the Cigarettes Per Day categories and 19 cigs per pack.

  • X X

    Cigarette smokers are fools. They must be made prohibitively expensive. The closer to that the better. Addiction can be overcome.