“Prop-56” is a new proposition in California that would raise the tax of a pack of cigarettes by $2 and also tax e-cigarettes for the first time. The goal of this bill is to help reduce the amount of Californians who smoke and improve overall health in the community. On top of that, some of the tax money would be used to “improve payments” for Medi-Cal health services. It’s not specifically laid out where the money will be spent but it was said that this would be advantageous. Instead of laying out a step-by-step plan, the money will be allocated during California’s yearly budgeting process. This allows it to “have the public process and have it be policy-driven rather than be locked up by some formula.” It was hinted that the tax would fund health care for the lower class. However some argue that the bill would do more harm than good. The lower class consumes more cigarettes than any other class. This causes them to pay a higher percentage of their earnings compared to the middle or high class.
Proposition-56 is a decent example of the social contract theory. Although not everyone would have to pay the tax, like an income tax, it still takes away some economic freedom in exchange for a better society. Although I agree that the tax would initially hurt the lower class, which purchases the most cigarettes, I believe it will be more beneficial in the long term. Because they have to spend much more money on cigarettes, it would help encourage users to quit. This could reduce cost of health care simply by reducing tobacco related illness and disease. Those who choose to continue to pay the tax will also help benefit the lower class by helping contribute to Medi-Cal to further reduce health care costs. Therefore this tax may reduce the freedom of some to purchase cigarettes at a cheap price, it will result in a healthier and better off society.