As a proponent for Proposition B, and a long-time supporter of anti-tobacco issues, I am pleased to see the Sedalia 200 school board support the tobacco tax increase.
At 17 cents a pack, our cigarette tax is the lowest in the nation. The proposed 73-cent boost would bring us in line with the nine states around us and still keep us in the bottom half of all states at 38th. The national average per pack is $1.49.
Nearly 10,000 Missouri deaths a year are linked to tobacco use. Missouri has the 11th highest smoking rate in the nation and is eighth in the nation in deaths from lung cancer. I personally have experienced the loss of loved ones due to smoking and believe supporting Prop. B, and raising the taxes on tobacco product, will deter many young people from even starting.
Studies have predicted that if the increase passes, 33,000 adult smokers will quit over five years and more than 40,000 youths will never start. There is no question that a high cigarette tax will improve the health of thousands of Missouri residents. The other real benefit is the money our local schools will receive; Prop. B specifically allocates 50 percent to K-12 education, 30 percent for public higher education and 20 percent for tobacco prevention and programs to help people quit smoking. Sedalia schools are estimated to receive between $700,000 and $1 million dollars.
Opponents want voters to think the state cannot be trusted to put the money where it is promised. The law requires all money from the higher tax to be treated as new funding and not to replace existing dollars dedicated to education.
I urge you to vote “yes” on Prop B. For more information on Prop B, visit showmeabrighterfuture.com.