Are less people smoking? Or were cigarettes just stockpiled before the tax hike? Maybe both?
Those are the questions we had after state data showed a drop in cigarette sales through May 2017. Proposition 56, which voters approved last November, increased the excise tax on cigarettes by $2.
That took effect April 1.
But it remains to be seen if there is a direct correlation between the tax hike and cigarette use.
The state's Legislative Analyst's Office said "we do not know how much of the May decline was temporary and how much will be permanent."
However, we do know where cigarette tax revenue is going. The majority of the more than $1.7 billion is spent on health care treatment, but revenue also goes toward health research and the state's dental program: