Annapolis, Md. —Today, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed bill HB732, which included line items for increasing the state cigarette tax by $1.75 per pack and earmarking $18.25 million toward tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
It also would have increased the tax on some types of other tobacco products and would have taxed e-cigarettes for the first time.
The Maryland Legislature had passed the bill back in March prior to the height of the pandemic.
However, Gov. Hogan vetoed the bill when it was presented to him after the session.
The following statement can be attributed to Jocelyn Collins, Maryland government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN):
“We’re extremely disappointed by the governor’s decision to veto this bill, which would have made a significant difference for the people of Maryland, as well as the state’s economy at this much-needed time. As our state battles COVID-19, it’s critical that we strengthen our public health.
“Not only was the bill projected to increase annual state revenue by over $95 million, but it would also have decreased the long-term health care costs from adult and youth smoking declines by more than $973 million. The $1.75 per pack cigarette tax increase was also estimated to reduce smoking in youth under age 18 by 18.2%. Additionally, it would have helped to pay for the Maryland Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Settlement and also funding necessary costs to the state associated with COVID-19.
“Additionally, this tax was one that was frankly long overdue in Maryland, as our state has not passed a single tobacco tax increase in over a decade.
“Smoking is still linked to more than one-quarter of cancer-related deaths in our state—and results in $2.7 billion per year in state health care costs. Additionally, 23% of Maryland high school students are currently using e-cigarettes, which have been linked to the use of other tobacco products.
“Significantly increasing tobacco taxes is one of the best ways to reduce tobacco use. We believe this bill would have provided many much-needed improvements to lessening the rising toll of tobacco in Maryland.
“Despite the outcome, we want to thank our Sponsors, Del. Eric Luedtke and Sen. Cory McCray for their leadership, as well as, Speaker Adrienne Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson. ACS CAN also thanks the members of the Maryland General Assembly for voting in support of this important public health legislation and calls on the legislature to “override” the veto.”
About ACS CAN
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