Mo. measure targets lowest-in-nation tobacco tax

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri voters are being asked for the third time in a decade whether they want to continue to have the lowest tobacco tax in the nation.

Efforts in 2002 and 2006 to increase the state's 17-cents-per-pack tax failed, but supporters say this year's ballot measure is different because it dedicates the proceeds to education and smoking cessation programs.

Opponents of Proposition B say raising the tax to 90 cents will cause people in neighboring states to stop coming to Missouri to buy their smokes and spend their money on other things, like food and gasoline. They cite a study showing passage would result in the loss of $67 million in sales taxes each year.

The state auditor's office estimates the measure would generate between $283 million and $423 million annually.

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