Voters narrowly reject new tax on tobacco

An attempt to levy a $1-per-pack tax increase on cigarettes was narrowly rejected by voters amid a high-stakes campaign in which the tobacco industry and its allies spent some $47 million to kill the measure, according to an Associated Press projection.

The secretary of state’s office reported that the tally for Proposition 29, out of some 4.9 million votes cast, was about 2.52 million opposed and 2.49 million in favor, a difference of less than 30,000 votes.

The vote count on Proposition 29, which was sponsored by a cancer-research coalition, has been close since the June 5 primary election as the returns were tallied. About 100,000 votes remain to be counted.

The campaign over Proposition 29 cost nearly $60 million, tobacco interests outspending the proponents by about four-to-one. Most of the money went to television advertising.

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