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Tobacco Tax TV Ad Called 'Misleading and False'

By Kelley Weiss

Kansas City, MO – Supporters of an increased tobacco tax in Missouri are fighting yet another battle with their opponents - this time over what they call misleading and false advertising. KCUR's Kelley Weiss reports.

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At issue is a television ad from Missourians Against Tax Abuse. They oppose Amendment 3, which would raise the state's cigarette tax by almost five times. The courts are still debating whether the amendment will make it on the November ballot after months of legal challenges from both sides. But if it does, and voters pass it, the estimated more than $350 million dollars a year from the tobacco tax would subsidize health care for low-income Missourians and fund anti-smoking campaigns.

The ad claims the amendment will create $2 billion more in expenditures for the state. But, Dr. Jim Blain, a spokesperson for a Committee for a Healthy Future, the supporters of Amendment 3, says the ad contradicts the state auditor's fiscal note and a circuit court judge's order outlining the tax's application.

Jim Blain: "This is not a mandate it simply provides funds and when the funds are finished that's it and there are no obligations for the tax payers to pay any more."

The Committee for a Healthy Future's legal counsel sent a letter to 20 TV stations around the state pointing out the false information and asking them to pull the ads immediately.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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