Secretary of State Jason Kander’s Office announced Monday that three initiative petitions regarding cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco and the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement have been cleared for circulation. The petitions would create a one and a half cent tax per cigarette and repeal or change the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, which requires tobacco companies to compensate states for increased public health costs created by cigarettes.
You’ve probably heard it before: rates of smoking and tobacco use in Missouri are some of the highest in the nation. Roughly 1 in 4 Missourians over the age of 18 smoke tobacco and the state ranks 50th for workplace exposure to second-hand smoke. But what isn’t clear is why Missouri has consistently ranked so low compared with other states. I spoke with Traci Kennedy, Executive Director of Tobacco Free Missouri, who says it’s because lawmakers have made it particularly easy to be a tobacco user in the state.
Smokers won't be the only ones affected if Missouri voters decide to raise the tobacco tax in November. If Proposition B passes, part of the extra tax proceeds will benefit the MU Medical School.
The medical school is collaborating with CoxHealth and Mercy health systems in Springfield to construct the city’s first clinical campus. CoxHealth Chief Medical Officer Dr. Dan Sontheimer says the tobacco tax initiative would mean a speedier process for this new clinical campus to become a reality.
You have probably heard the statistic: Missouri has the lowest cigarette tax in the nation – just 17 cents a pack, compared to the national average of $1.46. In this week's Health & Wealth update, public health advocates want to raise Missouri's tobacco tax to deter people from smoking, and to help offset the costs that tobacco incurs.