Contact: Vincent DeMarco, 410-591-9162


Data Show Reductions in Alcohol Consumption and Smoking Following Tax increases

BALTIMORE, MD (December 19, 2018) – The Maryland Healthcare for All Coalition today 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 tobacco and alcohol 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 video released today will raise awareness among policymakers and the public about this evidence-based policy solution to reduce alcohol and tobacco use and reduce healthcare spending. Developing an evidence based policy solution is the first step in transforming public will into public policy.”

The animated video, released in :15 and :90 versions, highlights the success in Maryland driving down alcohol consumption and smoking rates.

The narration states, “Take Maryland.  When they implemented increased taxes on tobacco in 2008 and alcohol in 2011, they saw dramatic decreases in smoking and drinking and significant improvements in public health” as graphics depict the steep declines in smoking and alcohol consumption.  The narration continues, “Because when alcohol costs more, people buy and drink less. When tobacco prices increase, more people give it up. This is especially true for young people!”

To view the video, click here.

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 and was released earlier this year.  The study concluded that taxing some consumer products is a policy strategy that has the potential to improve the public’s health.

Specifically, the authors found that following the alcohol sales tax increase in 2011 binge drinking by Maryland adults decreased by 17 percent in Maryland 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 $1.00 per pack cigarette tax increase in 2008 smoking by Maryland adults decreased by 26 percent among current smokers between 2011 and 2016.

Among high school students the study found that there was a 47 percent reduction in students who reported smoking a cigarette in the preceding 30 days between 2007 and 2015.  In 2007, 17 percent of Maryland high school students reported smoking at least once in the previous 30 days, dropping to just 9 percent in 2015. The report notes that young people who do not smoke in high school are less likely to start smoking as adults and are less likely to use other illegal substances than their smoking peers.

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 here.

“We know these policies work to improve public health outcomes,” said DeMarco. “Building on the Abell Foundation report, our goal is to continue to raise awareness and push for evidence-based policy solutions that improve public health and drive down costs.”

To view the video and for more information about Maryland Healthcare for All’s six-step process to transform public will into political power, visit

Last modified: December 19, 2018