Researchers expect cigarette smuggling to triple if Kansas raises tobacco tax

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas lawmakers are debating whether to raise state taxes on cigarettes to help balance the budget.

If Kansas lawmakers pass Governor Brownback's proposal to raise the tax by $1.50 per pack, more people are expected to smuggle cigarettes into Kansas from Missouri and other surrounding states.

According the latest data just released by Mackinac, Kansas has the 34th highest tobacco tax in the nation at 79 cents  per pack.

If the Governor's tobacco tax increase is passed, it would raise it to $2.29 a pack, and Kansas would jump to the 11th highest tobacco tax. Missouri charges only 17 cents in taxes for a pack of cigarettes.

Researchers told the Wichita Eagle that raising the tobacco tax in Kansas would lower the number of legal tobacco sales by 37 percent while the percentage of cigarettes smuggled into the state would triple.

Governor Brownback also wants to raise the alcohol tax from 8 to 12 percent.  Governor Brownback believes it is needed to help balance the budget, so expect the issue to come to the forefront in the coming weeks.