Debate heats up on Mo. cigarette tax increase

Oct 8, 2012

A ballot measure that would raise Missouri’s cigarette tax is starting to catch fire.

Leaders of the effort to raise the state’s tobacco tax are making stops across Missouri through the end of this week, to places like here to Lee’s Summit, Mo. on a yellow school bus.

Misty Snodgrass, with the American Cancer Society says a jump in the state’s cigarette tax, currently the lowest in the country, to 90 cents a pack would help reign in the state’s high smoking rate while directing half of that added tax revenue into schools.

“I think the benefits of it are that we’re going to keep kids from smoking and provide much needed revenue to local public schools," Snodgrass says.

Opponents of the tax hope to get folks like Jackie Martin and Fred Kennedy out to the polls. Martin and Kennedy were at Discount Smokes, a few miles west of Lee's Summit, Mo.

A statewide convenience store association kicked off their campaign against the tax increase last week, sending out pamphlets and signs to stores and gas stations throughout the state.

The measure comes to a vote this November.