To The Editor:

The problem: Missouri’s health and educational outcomes are falling behind.

Missouri has the 11th highest smoking rate in the country with 21 percent of adults and 18.1 percent of youth smoking. That means each year 8,600 Missouri kids start smoking and Missourians spend over $2 billion on smoking-related health care costs annually.

In addition, our education system is underfunded, creating larger class sizes and fewer teachers while the costs of going to college continue to skyrocket.

The solution: Voting yes on Proposition B this November provides real solutions to these problems.

Missouri’s tobacco tax is the lowest in the nation at 17 cents per pack of cigarettes. Although Prop B would raise the tax by 73 cents on all tobacco products, Missouri’s tobacco tax would still be well below the national average at $1.49 per pack.

Prop B would raise $283 million each year to be put into an educational trust fund. The fund will distribute 20 percent to tobacco prevention and cessation programs, 50 percent to improve K-12 education and 30 percent to higher education.

Your role: On Tuesday, Nov. 6, cast your vote yes for Proposition B. Sponsored by Show Me a Brighter Future, Prop B is endorsed by the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, American Heart Association, Missouri State School Boards Association, Coordinating Board of Higher Education and numerous other organizations and individuals.

Invest in the future of Missouri’s children and health by refusing to be last.

Raising the price of tobacco products has proven to create steady revenue while reducing smoking rates as proven in many other states that have taken action.

Prop B would keep more kids from becoming addicted adult smokers and help adult smokers.