Cigarette tax increase could appear on MO November ballot

Cigarette tax increase could appear on MO November ballot

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - It's been more than two decades since there was tax increase on cigarettes in Missouri.

With the issue possibly appearing on the November Ballot, surprisingly some health organizations aren't in support.

Karen Englert works for the American Heart Association.

"When it comes to a tax increase we need it to be the right one," Englert said.

She said with Missouri ranking the lowest in cigarette taxes, something must change.

"We're actually long overdue for an increase," Englert said. "But we know it has to be a large enough increase to keep people from smoking."

So the American Heart Association teamed up with five other health organizations calling the proposed tax increase - alarming and deceitful.

Some main concerns include how small the increase will be and how the extra money will be spent.

The health groups recommend increasing the tax by one dollar with majority of the money going smoking prevention.

Illinois resident Andrea Curly travels to Missouri to buy cheaper cigarettes.

"We stop here and I know a lot of my friends do when we come to the south," Curly said.

Curly said she's not sure how taxing cigarette users will help youth from choosing not to smoke.

"They going to find a way the same way they do alcohol," Curly said. "Your friend going to buy it, you can be rich or poor child, one of your friends are going to be able to afford cigarette and they're going to smoke."

Englert said her organization will continue working until a reasonable tax increase is draft.

"If there's going to be a tax increase then there need to be right tax increase," Englert said. "Sometimes it's better to do nothing than to do the wrong something and to us these increases are the wrong something."

There have been cigarette tax increases on ballots in the past, but never passed.

We'll keep you updated on if you may see this one.

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