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Another hike In MD tobacco tax likely

WJZ Baltimore
October 6, 2011
Reporting Pat Warren

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Smokers could soon pay extra for cigarettes. Another possible tobacco hike is in the works.

Political Reporter Pat Warren explains, the reason behind it is health.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Anti-smoking crusaders are stoking the fire for another tax hike on cigarettes, which would bring the state tax to $3 a pack.

“It’s crazy!” smoker Ashley Pinson said. “It’s bad enough we paying $2 now, to raise it to three… I think maybe that’s just to get people to stop smoking. I think that is the reason.”

“Nothing could be better for them and the state that people don’t smoke,” said Vincent DeMarco of the Maryland Citizens Health Initiative said.

Their strategy is to gain so much public support before they take their proposal to Annapolis that the General Assembly can’t say no.

“Already over 100 organizations from across Mayland have endorsed it, hundreds more will,” DeMarco said. “We’re going to make this happen.”

The mere suggestion may be enough for some.

“I’ve been trying to quit now but I think this is it,” Pinson said. “This is my push that I need. This is ridiculous!”

While some may oppose a tax increase simply on principle, it’s hard to argue against something that encourages people to stop smoking.

Health Care For All wants the tax dollars earmarked for public health care costs.