Anti-smoking group touts Missouri tobacco legislation

Anti-smoking and health care advocates are urging Missouri lawmakers to approve legislation targeting cheap cigarettes.

The measure would require tobacco companies that were not part of a 1998 settlement with states to pay what bill supporters describe as their fair share of money into a trust fund. They say Missouri and Florida — which struck a separate settlement with tobacco companies — are the only states where some smaller tobacco companies are avoiding the payments.

A new group called “Citizens to Stamp out Cheap Cigarettes” held a news conference Tuesday at the Missouri Capitol suggesting the legislation could help lower the teen smoking rate by forcing up the price of some cigarettes.

A House committee endorsed the legislation Monday. Similar bills have failed in past years.

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