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Proposition 29 fails by razor-thin margin - AP

A woman is seen smoking on the street in this undated photo.

June 22, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Proposition 29, a proposed tax on tobacco to pay for cancer research, has failed by six tenths of a percentage point, the Associated Press has determined.

AP determined that the proposition failed by about 27,000 votes out 5 million cast.

The proposition would have raised the cigarette tax in California by a dollar to $1.87 per pack, and that money would have been spent to award grants for cancer research and other smoking-related diseases.

But while Prop. 29 was backed by cycling legend Lance Armstrong, it was opposed by taxpayer groups that didn't see the upside to ballot-box budgeting during a time of multi-billion-dollar state deficits.

Proponents argued that Prop. 29 would help keep people out of the hospital. It did not include money for treatment, only research. Coupled with the extra dollar per pack, proponents said it would stop 220,000 kids from starting to smoke and would help encourage 100,000 current smokers to stop smoking.

California is one of only three states that has not passed a tobacco tax increase in the last 10 years.