- Associated Press - Friday, July 1, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California’s lobbying group for the hospital industry is giving a $9 million boost for an initiative campaign to raise tobacco taxes.

The California Hospital Association’s donation is the largest so far for the Save Lives California committee. It says the money will help the campaign sell its message against heavy-spending tobacco companies that oppose the tax.

California voters will decide in November whether to levy a $2 tax on each pack of cigarettes. The initiative qualified for the ballot Thursday and was assigned the title Proposition 56 on Friday.

The tax revenue would go to state health, tobacco prevention and control programs and cancer research.

CHA previously donated $1 million to the cigarette tax campaign.

Beth Miller, a spokeswoman for tobacco giant Altria, says opponents also plan a vigorous campaign.

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