California Public Policy and Citizen Participation/Prop99

Proposition 99 is an initiative statute which appeared on the November 8th, 1988 California general election ballot, as the Tobacco Tax and Health Protection Act. It was passed by a majority vote of the electorate. Its primary effect is to impose a 25-cent per pack state excise tax on the sale of tobacco cigarettes within California, with approximately equivalent excise taxes similarly imposed on the retail sale of other commercial tobacco products, such as cigars and chewing tobacco. Additional restrictions placed on the sale of tobacco include a ban on cigarette vending machines in public areas accessible by juveniles, and a ban on the individual sale of single cigarettes. Revenue generated by the act was earmarked for various environmental and health care programs, and anti-tobacco advertisements.[1]

Proponents of the act believe it is a useful public health measure which discourages tobacco use by Californians. Critics of the act contend that it is a regressive tax which punishes the disproportionately working class smokers, rather than the multi-billion dollar tobacco industry, and that the anti-smoking education program constitutes political propaganda.


  1. California Department of Public Health. "Tobacco Tax and Health Protection Act of 1988" (1988).