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SB 591 could be a smart way to help pay for damage done by tobacco
SB 591 could be a smart way to help pay for damage done by tobacco

A tax on tobacco products is a good unto itself, not just a way to raise revenue. As economists have repeatedly reported, tobacco levies are highly effective at dissuading people from smoking cigarettes, which remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Tobacco taxes alleviate suffering and extend lives. What's not to love? That said, it's important that the money raised by such sin taxes be spent appropriately. Proposition 29, which was on the California ballot in 2012, failed that test. Its revenue would have funded a new quasi-governmental agency to conduct research on a wide range of diseases. The state didn't need a new agency that would spend...

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