Lawmakers & Health Groups Advocate Increasing The Md. Cigar Tax

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Maryland smokers brace for another tax hike, this time on products other than cigarettes.

Political reporter Pat Warren has the new tax targets.

Tobacco users who have so far avoided tax increases could now be roped in.

“I think maybe that’s just to get people to quit smoking,” one smoker said.

The tax applies to all cigars, and the same holds true for anybody who likes to chew or dip or stick little packs of tobacco between their gums and lip.

“I imagine everyone’s here because of the public health side of the story,” Maryland’s Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown said. “It’s also a revenue generating story but that wouldn’t be why you’re here, but rather to focus on the benefits to health of what we’re proposing.”

Organizations, including Health Care For All, the Cancer Society and Lung Association, are joining forces to support the tax as a deterrent to smoking, with revenues earmarked for health-related programs.

Cancer Society volunteer John O’Hara says both his parents died of tobacco-related illnesses.

“They’d sit around the kitchen table and talk and talk and talk and smoke and smoke and smoke,” O’Hara said.

Tobacco currently taxed at 15 percent will increase to 70 percent, so a single Black and Mild sold for $1.49 would increase to $2.21, and a pack of five from would go up from $4.49 to $6.63. But the Maryland State Medical Society believes the greater price is for people to continue to use tobacco.

“And that’s why we’re here today, to hopefully have the effect of reducing the use and maybe there won’t be any revenue generation and that’s just fine with us,” Dr. David Hexter said.

The tax increase is included in Gov. Martin O’Malley’s budget proposal.

Supporters say the tax increase could raise at least $35 million.

More from Pat Warren
  • chalkie

    How can they say its going to generate $35 million? When you almost double the price of something with a tax, you cause alot of people to reconsider and stop using a product. This just another B.S. fee or tax to generate money, because our state officals cannot do what alot of states are doing, you know the term do more with less. Our theiving officals in this state continue to spend money like its water. Thier expense accounts are being used more for personal items and not for state buisness. Then when BGE sells out they all will loose another big compensation. This is getting really terrible, if everyone out thier readding this would just spred the word and vote everyone of these idiots out of office when the election comes around, things would have to get better. We need to elect people into office that don’t have money and understand the problems all of us middle and lower class people have. They cannot keep squeezing all of us, while the rich pay less and less.

    • jim

      You are onehundred % wright. AND YES VOTE THEM ALL OUT!!!!!!!!

  • Ron

    BS in the fullest !!!!

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  • shelly mcfarland

    People buy cigars to empty and roll their “blunts” of marijuanna..all across the nation; I’m talking about a whole bunch of cigars people!!! EZ Wider should be happy.. pot smokers -not so happy! This is a tax for young people not your usual older dude who smokes cigars on occasion…

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  • The grump

    How about a liberal Democrat tax instead of the cigar and gas taxes ? About 90 percent of any earnings or dividends liberals make over 30,000.00 sounds about right. They LIKE taxes, so they should pay more of them, and leave us hard working taxpayers alone. Anyone who voted for O’malley should have to pay the new liberal Democrat tax. Let the liberals in Montgomery county, Queen Anne county, and Baltimore city put their money where their mouth is.

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