Tobacco tax efforts draw unexpected support, detractors

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ST. LOUIS (AP) – Missouri’s lowest-in-the-nation tobacco tax will rise if either of two ballot measures passes Nov. 8.

Amendment 3 would add 60 cents to Missouri’s 17-cent-per-pack tobacco tax, with the money going to early childhood education. Proposition A would raise the tobacco tax 23 cents for transportation projects.

In a twist, tobacco companies are largely financing the campaigns for both measures. The parent company of R.J. Reynolds has spent $12.4 million to support Amendment 3, which would also add a 67-cent per pack charge for their smaller competitors. Two smaller tobacco firms have spent a combined $6 million to support Proposition A and oppose Amendment 3.

Many health organizations, which would typically support higher tobacco taxes, oppose both proposals.

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