California tobacco tax more than doubles to $2.87 per pack

FILE - In this Tuesday, April 21, 2015 file photo, a patron smokes a cigarette inside a bar in New Orleans hours before a smoking ban takes effect in bars, gambling halls and many other public places such as hotels, workplaces, private clubs and stores. A study released by the American Cancer society on Monday, Oct. 24, 2016 shows cigarettes contribute to more than one in four cancer deaths nationwide and the rate is highest _ nearly 40 percent _ among men in southern states where smoking and relatively lax tobacco control policies are more common. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – The price of a pack of cigarettes is 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.

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.

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