April 9, 2014
Robert Lang

Two days after the 2014 Session of the Maryland General Assembly ended, groups supporting an increase in the state’s cigarette tax are thinking about next year.

Members of Maryland Health Care for All and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids held a news conference in Annapolis today asking incumbent lawmakers and challengers running for the Maryland General Assembly to sign a pledge, promising they’ll vote for a $1 increase in the state’s cigarette tax if elected.

The tax was last increased in the special legislative session of 2007. It currently stands at $2-per pack of cigarettes.

Amy Barkley, regional advocacy director for the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, told WBAL News that increasing the tobacco tax has encouraged people to quit smoking and has provided millions to the state, which has used some of the money to expand Medicaid.

‘We’ve seen a 32-percent decline in smoking since then (2007), and this is just a great win-win-win policy for Maryland,” Barkley told WBAL News.

Barkley says the number of people quitting smoking is declining gradually so the cigarette tax still generates millions for the state.

Barkley says she would also like to see lawmakers increase the tax on electronic cigarettes which are growing in popularity among younger smokers.

Barkley notes that her group is only asking for legislative candidates to sign the pledge, and not gubernatorial candidates.

She says any decision to raise the tobacco tax will ultimately come from the legislature.

Last modified: April 10, 2014