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.