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Taking on Tobacco: Giving to Tobacco Tax Ballot Measures

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Abstract:

During the November 2004 elections, voters in three states went to the polls to vote for or against raising state tobacco taxes. In all three states - Colorado, Montana and Oklahoma - they voted decisively in favor of raising the taxes, despite significant opposition and financial backing by the tobacco giants.

The American Cancer Society financially supported the initiatives in all three states, while the American Heart Association and American Lung Association were both active in Colorado and Montana. Meanwhile, Philip Morris, Altria, the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco put their money into the committees opposing the measures, targeting the Oklahoma
measure in particular.

Committees supporting the tax increases in all three states raised $3.5 million, while opponents raised $2.4 million. Oklahoma's proposed tax increase garnered the most money, at nearly $3.3 million, while Montana's was the least expensive measure of the three, with $348,800.