Text: MARYLAND CITIZENS' HEALTH INITIATIVE
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New Campaign! Healthy Maryland Initiative

What can save lives and raise important revenue? Our Healthy Maryland Initiative!

Our Healthy Maryland Initiative aims to increase the tax on cigarettes and non cigarette tobacco products, reduce teen tobacco use and to raise $100 million for critical health care and public health needs. The money raised by the tax would to to restore funding cuts made to the tobacco control program and the state Medicaid program.

During the 2012 Session of the Maryland General Assembly, we worked with the Governor and legislative leaders to significantly increase the state’s tax on little cigars and smokeless tobacco which will save thousands of young people from addiction to these deadly products.

We launched a new campaign to raise the states tobacco taxes for 3 good reasons:

1. It worked last time–let’s keep it going

The three tobacco tax increases for which we have fought over the past decade have resulted in a 32% decrease in smoking in Maryland – double the national average. This translates into over 70,000 lives saved from premature tobacco-caused deaths and hundreds of millions of dollars of health care savings. And, the money raised by the 2007 cigarette tax increase has helped to fund health care expansion to over 250,000 Maryland children, parents and seniors.

If we enact our proposed tax increase on cigars and smokeless tobacco, overall consumption of these products would decline by about 18%, and youth prevalence would decline by 33.4%.This would save many lives. In addition, the tax increase would raise over $25 million dollars per year which we propose to use to restore critical funding that has been cut from the state tobacco control program and the State Medicaid program.

2. The public overwhelmingly support it

We commissioned a new statewide poll by Opinion Works  to gauge the public’s support of such a measure.   The poll showed that Maryland voters overwhelmingly support increasing the state’s tax on cigars and smokeless tobacco.  Seventy-two percent of Maryland voters endorse this proposal, with fifty-four percent strongly endorsing it.

This support is also reflected in the over seven hundred faith, community, labor, business and health care groups from across Maryland that have endorsed the Healthy Maryland Initiative Resolution calling for an increase in the state’s tobacco taxes to reduce tobacco use, particularly among children, and fund critical health care and public health programs.

3. More is needed

A recent study by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene revealed that the use of cigars by young people in Maryland is growing at an alarming rate, putting many of them at risk of serious illness or early death from tobacco use.

Increasing the tax on these products is one of the best ways to reduce their use by young people.  The tax on cigars and smokeless tobacco has not been raised in Maryland since 1999.

Ready to join the Healthy Maryland Initiative Coalition? Join today!

1) Sign and send us the resolution of support.

2) For relevant updates on the campaign, sign up for the “Take Action” RSS feed on our homepage.