The Los Angeles Business Journal’s government affairs reporter, Howard Fine, wrote last month that cigar shops may be the biggest victim if Proposition 29 passes in June.

The measure would raise the tax on cigarettes by $1 a pack, which has gotten most of the attention. But Fine wrote that cigars also would be taxed heavily, and cigar shops would be particularly vulnerable because they sell cigars and paraphernalia almost exclusively. Cigarettes, by contrast, are typically sold in groceries and places that don’t depend on those sales.

A box of 18 premium cigars that sell for $265 would likely go to about $305 if the tax increase passes. Since Internet sales of cigars are already cheaper, the tax increase may be what finally pushes remaining cigar smokers to drive past their neighborhood tobacco shop and order online. And that could be devastating to California’s 300 or so tobacco specialty shops, scores of which are in Los Angeles County.

So it was interesting to see the poll last week showing that support of Prop 29 collapsing. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, 53 percent favor it – down 14 points from the polling done in March.

Who knows if the downward trend will continue. But suddenly, the proposition doesn’t appear quite so inevitable.

And maybe, just maybe, hundreds of cigar shops and tobacco specialty shops – mostly small, family owned businesses – will be saved.