A coalition of health care groups that have historically funded efforts to increase Missouri’s lowest-in-the-nation tobacco tax announced Wednesday that they will not do so this year.
Two tobacco tax proposals could end up on the statewide ballot this year. One, sponsored by the Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, would incrementally increase Missouri’s 17-cent-per-pack tobacco tax by 23 cents and put the extra money toward road repairs. The other, supported by Raise Your Hand For Kids, would amend the state’s constitution to gradually raise the tax 60 cents per pack and use the money to pay for early childhood education and preventative health programs.
Both efforts, which are bankrolled by tobacco companies, are being opposed by health care groups in the state such as the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.
“It’s alarming and deceitful for the tobacco industry to support two insufficient tobacco tax proposals in our state under the guise of concern about education and transportation funding,” the coalition of groups said in a statement. “Small increases to the tobacco tax – like the proposals being considered – will generate new revenue but will not keep kids from becoming addicted to cigarettes or help adults quit.”
Read more: Kansas City Star