The San Luis Obispo County Health Commission has postponed a decision on whether to endorse a June ballot measure that would increase cigarette taxes until it receives more information.
Proposition 29 would add a tax on cigarettes to raise money for cancer research, education and cessation programs, and law enforcement.
Proponents say it would raise $700 million annually.
It is backed by the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, American Heart Association and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, among other groups.
Those groups in favor of the measure had raised $3,273,120 as of Feb. 12, according to MapLight, which tracks the influence of money on elections.
Reynolds American Inc., which includes R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, American Snuff and other brands, has raised $4 million to fight Proposition 29, and the Altria Group, which includes Philip Morris and Smokeless Tobacco, has raised an additional $10,756,491, according to MapLight.
Opponents say fighting cancer is important but contend Proposition 29 does nothing to reduce the state’s budget deficit, calling the measure “flawed and poorly drafted.”
Commissioners briefly discussed the proposition at their April 9 meeting but put off a decision on whether to take sides or remain neutral until they hear a more developed presentation at their next meeting, scheduled for May 14.