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Comptroller’s E-cigarette Report Misses the Mark on Protecting Marylanders

Statement from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

February 19, 2020
ANNAPOLIS, Md.—Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot issued the final report yesterday from the Task Force on Electronic Smoking Devices, outlining the task force’s recommendations to reduce youth e-cigarette use. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) determined that the plan misses the mark in terms seeing worthwhile results.
 
The following statement can be attributed to Jocelyn Collins, Maryland Government Relations Director for ACS CAN:
 
“This plan lacks two key components of a successful tobacco control plan, a tobacco tax increase and a restriction on the sale of all flavored tobacco products—with zero exceptions. Those are our biggest points of contention.
 
“However, there are two bills currently in review by the Maryland General Assembly that would achieve the results needed. These bills would end the sale of all flavored tobacco including menthol cigarettes in Maryland (HB3/SB233) and  increase the state’s tobacco excise tax by $2 per pack on cigarettes with a parallel tax of 86% of the wholesale price on all other tobacco products including e-cigarettes (SB3/HB732).
 
“We are an evidence-based organization, and we have seen what works and doesn’t work for decades now. And frankly, the Comptroller’s plan alone just won’t cut it.
 
“The tobacco industry has aggressively targeted the Maryland African American community with menthol cigarettes. Now, with the rise of e-cigarettes and flavored cigars, we’re seeing history repeat itself—seeing Big Tobacco relentlessly target our state’s youth.
 
“We cannot afford any more delay tactics such as these in Maryland—we need a bill that protects the health of our youth and constituents. It’s time to finally end the sale of all flavored tobacco products.
 
Related to the tobacco tax increase bill Collins said, “It’s a win-win-win for constituents’ health and the Maryland economy. If the bill is passed, it is projected to increase annual state revenue by $97.43 million and would decrease the long-term health care cost savings from adult and youth smoking by $1.11 billion. A $2 per pack cigarette tax increase is also estimated to decrease smoking in youth under age 18 by 20.8%.”
 
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The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.
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