Maryland’s new cigarette tax will save kids’ lives, an anti-teen smoking advocate says.
The Maryland legislature passed a tobacco tax this week that added $1.75 per pack of cigarettes, and a 12 percent tax on open vaping systems (like those with refillable tanks) and a 60 percent tax on closed vaping systems (like those with disposable cartridges). The tax was a part of a three-day sprint that saw the legislature pass more than 600 bills before recessing out of concerns over the coronavirus.
The bill nearly doubles the total tax on cigarettes from $2 to $3.75. It’s the first tax Maryland has imposed on electronic cigarettes.
Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, applauded the measure.
“It is terrific news for Maryland’s kids and health that the state legislature has approved a $1.75 per pack increase in the state cigarette tax. The cigarette tax increase is a win-win-win solution for Maryland – a health win that will reduce smoking and save lives, a financial win that will raise much-needed revenue and a political win that polls show is popular with voters. We applaud the legislative champions and local public health groups for their leadership in fighting tobacco use – still the No. 1 cause of preventable death. And we urge Gov. Hogan to sign the bill into law promptly,” Myers said in a statement.
Myers said the tax increase would prevent more than 15,000 kids in Maryland from taking up smoking while reducing the number of adult smokers by 32,600. Myers also projected that the tax would save 12,700 Marylanders from smoking-related deaths and save Marylanders over $970 million in healthcare costs.
The spending bill now goes to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk for signing.