Calif. voters split on tax targeted by Big Tobacco

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(AP) – It’s still too close to call the California initiative to raise the tax on tobacco products.

As of Wednesday morning, opposition to the increase leads by just over 1 percent, or about 64,000 votes, out of more than 3.8 million votes counted.

But there’s an unknown number of ballots left to be tallied.

In California, even with all precincts reporting, there typically are many late-arriving early voting and absentee ballots not counted until after election day.

These ballots typically comprise up to 20 percent of all votes, meaning potentially hundreds of thousands of votes are still to be counted statewide.

The tobacco industry spent tens of millions of dollars on an ad campaign against imposing an additional $1-per-pack tax on cigarettes to fund cancer research. Cancer survivor Lance Armstrong led the effort to pass the tax hike.

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