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Video addresses alcohol, tobacco tax success

From Cumberland Times-News

Jan 10, 2019

CUMBERLAND — The Maryland Healthcare for All Coalition has released a video demonstrating the success of alcohol and tobacco taxes to address public health issues and save lives. The video follows a comprehensive study from the Abell Foundation showing steep reductions in alcohol consumption and tobacco use, especially among young people, after tax increases were enacted.

“The data show that increasing alcohol and tobacco taxes is a viable strategy to improve public health outcomes and save lives,” said Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Healthcare for All Coalition.

The Abell Foundation study, “Public Health Policy in Maryland: Lessons from Recent Alcohol and Cigarette Tax Policies,” was conducted by experts at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. The study concluded that taxing some consumer products is a policy strategy that has the potential to improve the public’s health.

The authors found that following the alcohol sales tax increase in 2011, binge drinking by Maryland adults decreased by 17 percent  between 2011 and 2016 and was greater than the 6 percent reduction nationally. There was also a decrease in alcohol-positive drivers and in sexually transmitted infections in Maryland.

Following the $1 per pack cigarette tax increase in 2008, smoking by Maryland adults decreased by 26 percent among current smokers between 2011 and 2016.

According to the study, “Maryland’s 2008 cigarette tax increase, like similar cigarette tax increases across the country, has reduced cigarette use, especially among young people, and can potentially reduce death and disease caused by tobacco use.”

For more detailed findings, read the full report at https://www.abell.org/publications/public-health-policy-maryland.

To view the video and for more information about Maryland Healthcare for All’s six-step process, visit www.healthcareforall.com/sixsteps.