The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Voters Smoke Big Tobacco at Polls

by Megan Tady

Nov. 8, 2006 – Yesterday, voters in five states passed ballot initiatives targeting cigarette smoking through smoke-free laws, cigarette taxes and anti-tobacco education programs, according to unofficial election results posted by secretaries of state.

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In Arizona, voters approved the Smoke-Free Arizona Act, prohibiting smoking in enclosed public areas and workplaces. Enforcement of the Act will be paid for by a tax of one-tenth of a cent per cigarette, or about two cents a pack. Additionally, Arizona voters said yes to a tax increase on tobacco products to fund early-childhood development and health programs.

Ohio voters also passed a measure to ban smoking in most public places and workplaces.

In Nevada, the electorate approved a ban on smoking in certain public places, including shopping malls, grocery stores, childcare facilities and indoor restaurants, and in all bars with food-handling licenses. The initiative still allows smoking in gaming areas of casinos and in alcohol-only bars. Voters rejected an initiative that would have allowed smoking in gaming areas of any establishment that holds a gaming license, including grocery stores, drug stores and convenience stores.

Voters in Florida supported an initiative that will oblige the state legislature to use 15 percent of tobacco settlement money paid to the state to fund a comprehensive, statewide tobacco education and prevention program. The tobacco settlement money is a result of a 1997 court case that pitted the state of Florida against the American Tobacco Company.

In South Dakota, voters passed a measure to increase the tax on 20-stick cigarette packages by $1.00, and 25-stick packages by $1.25.

Two other tobacco-related ballot initiatives failed. Voters in California and Missouri rejected initiatives to raise cigarette taxes and fund smoking-prevention programs.

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

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Megan Tady is a staff journalist.

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