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Tobacco Tax Fails Proposed Rise, Outcome Disappoints Schools

2%29+Missouri+comes+in+fifty-first+in+the+nation+for+tobacco+taxes+%28including+District+of+Columbia%29+with+only+17+cents+per+pack.++
2) Missouri comes in fifty-first in the nation for tobacco taxes (including District of Columbia) with only 17 cents per pack.

2) Missouri comes in fifty-first in the nation for tobacco taxes (including District of Columbia) with only 17 cents per pack.

2) Missouri comes in fifty-first in the nation for tobacco taxes (including District of Columbia) with only 17 cents per pack.

Diana Dudenhoeffer and Jack Patrick, News Editor

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(1) Of the taxed portions from a pack of cigarettes, the greatest amount goes towards Missouri’s Schools Money Fund.

Missouri’s lowest tobacco tax in the nation can have adverse effects, especially in a high school setting.

Lawmakers are proposing tax increases, which, they believe, may could help discourage young people from purchasing tobacco products.

   According to the Congressional Budget Office, a 10% increase in the per-pack cigarette tax would decrease smoking among citizens under the age of 18 by from 20% to 15%. It would also decrease the smoking among adults by from 11% to 8%.

   Missouri voters rejected the proposed tobacco tax increase in November of 2016.  Currently, 4 ½ mills (a mill is one tenth of  cent) for each cigarette goes to a Schools Money Fund, according to the Missouri Department of Revenue.

   That’s 17 cents for a pack of 20 cigarettes.  Other, smaller portions of the tax go to the Fair Share Fund and the Health Initiatives fund.
   Other tobacco products like cigars, smokeless tobacco and tobacco-free alternatives that still contain nicotine get taxed similarly.    10% of the manufacturer’s invoice price goes to the same state funds.

   According to Ozarks First, the Amendment 3 was a 2016  proposal which would increase tobacco taxes in Missouri from $0.17 to $0.60.  $0.60 is still only about a third of the national average.

   Funds from the proposed increases would have gone into an Early Childhood Health and Education Trust Fund; the Amendment failed with 59% of people voting against it.

   Comparison to nationwide prices Missouri has the lowest excise tax per pack of cigarettes in the country, coming in at $0.17 per pack. Compared to New York’s $4.35 tax per pack and the national average of $1.72 cents per pack, the difference is quite notable.  Currently, Missouri’s tobacco excise tax is a little more than a tenth of the national average.
   So what does raising the tax even by ten cents hurt? Maybe in a year, you get to buy 10 fewer packs of cigarettes, but public health would actually benefit from an increased tax.

   The current tax is on tobacco products excludes E-cigs, and many believe that a more updated version of the tax would not only bring in more money for state funds, but they could also discouage the use of vapes.

   E-cigarettes, such as Juuls, Suorins or any other smoking alternative, are not included in the state tobacco tax. According to Tax Foundation, only seven states have an actual tax on e-cigarettes, including California, Minnesota, Kansas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and North Carolina.

Science News For Students explains that within the past few years, the vaping and smoking have switched places.  In 2013, the number of students who smoked was nearly three times that as those who vaped.  But by 2015, nearly twice the number of teenagers vape as those who smoke.

   Knowing that the number of people vaping is on the rise, the government should take action in response.

   An additional tax on E-cigs and their accessories would discourage young people from purchasing them, says senior Christian Casertano, who knows a lot about vaping.

   “It’s already an expensive hobby,”  Casertano said.  “And I definitely don’t want to spend more money on it than I already do.”

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Tobacco Tax Fails Proposed Rise, Outcome Disappoints Schools