Support the Tobacco Tax Increase
By Henry Bogdan, Director of Public Policy & Advocacy, Maryland Nonprofits
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Maryland Nonprofits supports Senate Bill 37 and its proposed increase of $1 per pack in the state’s cigarette tax. We also support its proposed increases in the taxes on cigars and other tobacco products, and the provisions for permit requirements and fees related to the sale and shipping of cigarettes and tobacco products.
The revenue raised by these measures proposed in Senate Bill 37 could be used to ease at least some of the general fund budget reductions that affect the people and communities nonprofits serve or represent, particularly those cuts that will otherwise directly or indirectly limit access to health care needed by lower income Marylanders, including pregnant women. It would also provide an ongoing mandated revenue stream for the important efforts to further reduce smoking and other tobacco use in Maryland.
But more significantly, the track record of recent tobacco tax increases in Maryland and elsewhere demonstrates that these increases in themselves have a real and substantial benefit to the health of Marylanders by discouraging and reducing the purchase and use of harmful tobacco products. Maryland’s aggressive tax strategy on tobacco has produced documented reductions in tobacco use, reducing the actual number of cigarettes sold here and a reduction of smoking twice as great as the national average.
For these reasons we strongly urge a favorable report on Senate Bill 37.
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