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Price of a Pack: the Key to Stop Smoking

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CBS St. Louis (con't)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - A pack of cigarettes in Missouri would increase by 73-cents if voters approve in November.

American Cancer Society spokesperson Misty Snodgrass thinks raising the price is what it will take to finally make people quit smoking.

“The number one reason why we want this tax is to help prevent youth from ever becoming daily smokers” said Snodgrass.

She says price is definitely a factor in someone’s decision whether to quit:  “We know they are price sensitive and at some point would not be able to afford it” said Snodgrass.

Adding 73 cents to a pack, bringing the total tax on a pack to 90 cents, would bring Missouri cigarette taxes, which are now the lowest in the nation, closer but still below the national average of $1.46

She also says taxpayers who fear money derived from more taxes wouldn’t go to education as promised, shouldn’t fear, because the law if approved sets up a trust fund.

Under the proposed law 50% of the added revenue would go to elementary and secondary education.  30% would go to higher education. 20% would go toward cessation and prevention programs.

Snodgrass says a conservative estimate of what the increase would mean annually comes to around 283 million dollars.  She thinks the tax may have an immediate impact of closer to 400-million dollars a year, but says its a dwindling revenue source.

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