Eight states border Missouri, all with substantially higher cigarette taxes than we do. Kentucky is the lowest of the eight and their tax rate is 353% higher than our rate. On the high end is Illinois, there taxes are 1,165% higher than our $0.17 rate!
Proposition B, if approved tomorrow, will raise our cigarette taxes to $0.96. At that rate four neighbors would have lower taxes and four would have higher taxes — we’d be in the middle.
If Proposition B passes, the best data suggest that we will experience an almost 12 percent reduction in teen smoking and prevent more than 40,000 Missouri youths from starting to smoke. More than 30,000 adult smokers in Missouri will likely quit smoking, and more than 20,000 premature deaths from smoking-caused diseases will be prevented over a very few years. More than 8,000 smoking-exposed pregnancies will be prevented. Furthermore, those of us who do not smoke will have less exposure to passive smoking, further reducing the risk of smoking-related diseases.
Passing Proposition B will result in huge health care cost savings over five years — $4.95 million from fewer cases of lung cancer, $17.69 million from fewer pregnancies exposed to cigarette smoke, and $11.8 million from fewer heart attacks and strokes. Over the long term, Missouri will save about $1.37 billion from health care cost savings from reduced teen and adult smoking. (Guest editorial @ stltoday.com)
Basically Missouri has failed in the past to raise taxes like our neighbors have done.
In Missouri, 25% of the adult population (aged 18+ years)—over 1,120,000 individuals—are current cigarette smokers. Across all states, the prevalence of cigarette smoking among adults ranges from 9.3% to 26.5%. Missouri ranks 48th among the states. (CDC)
Forthy-eight out of fifty!
Approximately 30% of the annual revenue generated from state excise taxes and settlement payments would fund Missouri’s tobacco control program at the Best Practices recommended amount. However, in 2007, Missouri’s funding for tobacco control was 1.7% of the recommended level. Missouri ranks 49th among the states. (CDC)
We’d still be below the national average of $1.34 per pack. Please vote yes on Proposition B to get us caught up.
– Steve Patterson