A California ballot initiative that would have increased taxes on cigarettes by $1 a pack appears to be finally dead after a tight vote. Its proponents have conceded.
Proposition 29 appears to have lost with only 49.7% of voter support.
The ballot measure was losing Wednesday by only 30,000 votes with about 60,000 ballots left to be counted, according to the secretary of state's office.
Election officials must report their final results to the secretary of state by July 6, and the secretary has until July 13 to certify the results.
The tax would have raised $735 million annually by next year.
The money would have gone toward research on cancer and tobacco-related diseases as well as toward preventing tobacco use.
Opponents argued that proceeds would have been sent out of state.
According to Fitch Ratings, the passage of Proposition 29 could have reduced the payments that tobacco companies pay states under the Master Settlement Agreement.
MSA funds are used to back tobacco securitization bonds issued in many states.