Annapolis, Md.—Today, the Maryland Legislature passed HB732, which included line items for increasing state tobacco taxes and earmarked $18.25 million toward tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
The approved tax will include a $1.75-per-pack cigarette tax increase and increases in tax on some types of other tobacco products.
The following statement can be attributed to Jocelyn Collins, Maryland government relations director for ACS CAN:
“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. We were also pleased with lawmakers’ decision to provide the state’s tobacco control programs with strong funding that will help prevent tobacco addiction and save lives.
“It is also a huge win for constituents’ health, Maryland’s economy, and education—helping to pay for the Maryland Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Settlement. Not only is the $1.75 per pack cigarette tax increase projected to increase annual state revenue by over $95 million, but it will also decrease long-term health care costs from adult and youth smoking declines by over $973 million. The $1.75 per pack cigarette tax increase is also estimated to decrease smoking in youth under age 18 by 18.2%.
“However, the legislature missed an important opportunity to tax all tobacco products at parallel rates and encourage people who use tobacco to quit rather than switch to a cheaper product. This is an important piece of a comprehensive strategy to discourage tobacco initiation.
“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 that this bill will provide much-needed improvements to lessen the rising toll of tobacco in Maryland and thank our Sponsors, Del. Eric Luedtke and Sen. Cory McCray for their leadership, as well as, Speaker Adrienne Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson. We also thank the members of the Maryland General Assembly for voting in support of this legislation.”
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.