JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) __ A proposed Missouri ballot measure would ask voters whether to raise taxes on cigarettes made “by certain tobacco product manufacturers.”

But the tax would not apply to the biggest tobacco companies. Instead, it would target primarily smaller companies that sell cigarettes at the cheapest prices.

The measure would affect only those companies that were not part of a 1998 settlement among big tobacco firms and attorneys general in 46 states.

That settlement calls for participating tobacco companies to pay more than $200 billion over 25 years to states. Laws enacted in those states also require companies that did not participate in the settlement to pay money into escrow funds based on the amount of cigarettes they sell. Much of those escrow payments are refunded back to those companies.

Copyright The Associated Press


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