SHARECOMMENTMORE

By Sharon Stevens

St. Louis (KSDK) - For the third time in less than 10 years voters have rejected a tax hike on cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Opponents of Proposition B are claiming victory. Supporters are disappointed.

Supporters of the failed measure routinely point to the current $0.17 a pack tax on cigarettes, the lowest in the nation, while pointing out that Missourians have one of the highest smoking rates.

Proposition B would have hiked the tobacco tax from $0.17 to $0.90 per pack. It had the support of health organizations as well as school districts.

Supporters said the tax revenue would go into a special fund to help finance education and smoking cessation programs. Their next move will be to talk with lawmakers.

Opponents said there was no proof that Prop B would be carried out as approved.

"I think right now it's up to the state legislature to address our poor health outcomes in Missouri and to look at trying to fully fund our schools to improve the education of Missourians," said Stacy Reliford with the American Cancer Society.

In a statement, the Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association said it is thrilled and grateful that Prop B was defeated. They said the measure was bad for business and bad for Missouri.