SPECIAL SERIES : 2006 General Election
Smokers Can Breathe a Sigh of Relief
Proposition 86 Voted Down, Cigarette Tax Avoided
November 8, 2006 9:42 AM
As Proposition 86 went up in smoke, reaction at SF State varied.
The rejection of the initiative, which would have raised cigarette taxes by $2.60 a pack to fund health services, was a good thing for 27-year-old Maia Youngbrandt.
“I’m from Chicago, and it’s $7 a pack there. I’m glad they’re not trying to screw me like that,” said Youngbrandt, a psychology major.
The proposition was important to her, but she wasn’t able to vote because of school and work.
“I figured if they passed it, I’d smoke less,” she said. “I had two boxes of (nicotine) patches waiting.”
Smoking a Newport cigarette outside the gym, 19-year-old Kevin Tolentino said he was glad the proposition was rejected.
“I pay too much as it is,” said Tolentino, who has yet to declare a major. “I would have had to smoke less if it passed, strictly because of financial reasons.”
Tolentino, who estimated he smokes half a pack per day, said he was too busy with school and work to vote.
Derick Lee, 26, said the proposition should have passed.
“I was a smoker for about a year and a half, and even if I still smoked I would support the tax,” said Lee, a business major. “It would suck to pay more, but it would help people quit.”
He quit cold turkey about a year ago after an argument with his mom over smoking. When she fell into a diabetic coma, Lee said he had extra motivation that most smokers never get.
Lee did not vote, and said despite the numerous ads for both sides, many people weren’t aware or didn’t care about it.
Ted Stevens did care, and voted yes on the proposition.
“Yes, it’s pretty discriminatory against smokers, but I’m totally against smoking so it doesn’t bother me,” said Stevens, 43.
Smokers have no conscience about their second-hand smoke or littering and don’t deserve sympathy if they had to pay more, said Stevens, a history major.
“Obviously, the smokers voted against it, but a lot of Libertarians and conservatives probably didn’t like it because they don’t want the government involved in their choices,” Stevens said. “But they’re idiots, if you ask me.”
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