In January 2009, when ex-state Senator Don Perata launched the cancer-research campaign that would eventually become Proposition 29, it was clear that Big Tobacco would do whatever it could to defeat a new tax on cigarettes. And sure enough, a powerful coalition led by Philip Morris USA and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company pumped nearly $41 million into the No on 29 campaign. The resulting advertising barrage changed the outcome of the race. Just a month before the June 5 election, Prop 29 enjoyed an overwhelming lead, but on Election Day the measure lost by a narrow margin. Late last week, the heavily outgunned tobacco-tax supporters finally conceded defeat.