Voters will find Amendment 3, a proposal to increase the tobacco tax by 80 cents per pack of cigarettes and by 20 percent on other tobacco products, on the November 7th general election ballot. If the amendment passes, it will raise Missouri’s tax on tobacco products closer to the national average.
The current tobacco numbers in Missouri speak for themselves: one in four Missouri adults and one in four Missouri kids smoke, among the highest rates in the country. At 17 cents, our current tax on tobacco is among the lowest in the country, higher only than the tax in the tobacco-producing state of South Carolina. And Missouri ranks last in the nation in smoking prevention and cessation spending.
The American Lung Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Missouri Hospital Association, and physician organizations, among others, favor an increased tobacco tax. Tobacco companies and cigarette retailers oppose the higher tax.
Pick your side.
I’ll support Amendment 3 in hopes of deterring kids from smoking, helping adults to quit smoking, and improving access to health care for Missourians in greatest need.