On Tuesday, Missourians have the opportunity to vote for an increase in the cigarette tax. Although most do not smoke, Missourians must pay about $1.7 billion per year in health-care costs for treatment of illnesses caused by smoking.
One of the best ways to reduce the numbers of people smoking — especially our children — is to increase the price of cigarettes.
Missouri is one of only eight states that have not raised cigarette taxes since 2000. We now have the second-lowest cigarette tax in the nation.
About $61 million of the money raised by this tax would be spent on smoking cessation and prevention programs. Missouri now spends very little on smoking cessation and prevention efforts. Not surprisingly, the state has one of the highest rates of adult and teen smoking in the country.
Given the latest U.S. surgeon general report showing the harm that secondhand smoke causes, it seems only fair that those who smoke should pay more taxes for the medical treatment caused by smoking.
If you do not smoke or use tobacco products, you will not be paying higher taxes by voting for Amendment 3.
President and CEO
Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City
I am a nonsmoker. I never have and never will smoke.
However, I think that a 470 percent tax increase on smoking products is downright sinful and discriminating. They say 4 cents more a cigarette. Well, do the math. That’s 80 cents a pack and $8 a carton.
Adult smokers in Missouri already contribute more than their fair share, with more than $100 million in annual tax revenue. If they are trying to break the tobacco companies and lose all that tax, where do you think they will get the tax money to make up for it? It will come from all of us.
Don’t let the ads mislead you. Vote no on Amendment 3.