Cheap Cigs Spent Big Money Defeating Missouri's Prop. B

decade cigarettes.jpg
Happy about Prop. B? Smoke a Decade.
Tobacco companies financed the bulk of the paid opposition to last week's Proposition B that would have raised cigarette taxes in Missouri.

Two off-brand cigarette manufacturers -- Cheyenne International and Xcaliber International -- each contributed more than $900,000 to the Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association PAC, which led the effort to defeat the tax. They were the only cigarette firms to fund opposition to Prop. B, according to paperwork filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Gas stations and quick shops also contributed mightily to the cause, with Fenton-based U-Gas contributing at least $290,000 to MPMCSA, according to filings with the state. In total, MPMCSA spent at least $2.3 million fighting Prop. B.

Related content:
- Missouri's Prop. B Is About Tobacco Taxes, Though You'd Never Know From Billboards
- Mayors Say Health Benefits of Tobacco Tax Outweigh Any Revenue Losses


Missourians for Health and Eduction, the campaign group that sought to fund education and smoking cessation in Missouri by raising the nation's lowest tobacco tax, spent at least $4.7 million on its failed campaign, according to state filings. The ballot measure lost by the narrowest of margins, 50.8 percent to 49.2 percent.  

Prop. B would have increased the tax on name-brand cigarettes such as Marlboro and Camel from Missouri's current 17 cents a pack to 90 cents a pack. For "off-brand" or "value-brand" smokes (which were spared participation in a settlement Missouri reached with tobacco companies in the 1990s) the tax would increase from 17 cents to $1.47 -- for a 764 percent increase.

Little wonder then, that Cheyenne (maker of Cheyenne and Decade cigarettes) spent $968,000 in fighting Prop. B and Xcaliber (with its Echo, Vortex, and Exeter lines of cigarettes) spent another $914,000. Convenience stores generally earn around 20 to 25 percent of their profit from the sale of tobacco products, according to MPMCSA, which explains their effort to thwart the tax increase.


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8 comments
Rick Kohn
Rick Kohn

one day the state will learn you can't gold wrap a lump of crap and expect it not to smell bad.

Jacob DeVore
Jacob DeVore

Even if the money got wasted, it would've been healthy for Missouri. Maybe spread the money over the capitol lawn in Jeff City, run a mower over it and turn it into mulch..... and we'd still be healthier for it. But hey, that's cool, let's continue to be a third-tier state.

Casey Kohler
Casey Kohler

I don't smoke and I voted no, at least I'm smart enough to know that money wasnt gonna go to schools and would end up in bureaucrats pockets

Daniel Reyna
Daniel Reyna

woot woot for lung cancer!! can I get a "f*ck yeah merica"!!

Allison Babka
Allison Babka

This was the biggest fail and disappointment. Thank goodness ladyparts are safe from legitimate rape, at least.

Leslee Brown
Leslee Brown

I used to but those things tasted and smelled so bad I figured they had to be worse than paying extra for the name brands

Brad Woods
Brad Woods

I am happy that smokers got out and said NO to more over taxing that never goes where they say the money will go! WTG Voters!!!

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