1. Increase the cigarette excise tax by $1.00 per pack;
2. Create parity between the tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products; and
3. Fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended level.
During the 2016 legislative session, identical bills supported by the American Lung Association in Maryland were introduced in the state House of Representatives and Senate to increase the tax on cigarettes by $1.00 per pack, increase taxes on other tobacco products, and dedicate some of the revenue to tobacco prevention and cessation programs with a requirement to spend $21 million each year on tobacco control efforts. Both bills received a hearing, but were not acted on further by either the House or Senate.
Several bills were also introduced that dealt with electronic cigarettes, one would have added electronic cigarettes to Maryland's smokefree workplace and youth access laws. Another would have prohibited the sale of liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes except in child-resistant containers. None of these bills made it out of committee.
A bill was approved by the legislature that increases the local licensing fee for retailers selling tobacco products from $25 to $125 in Montgomery County, Maryland.
The American Lung Association in the Maryland will continue to educate lawmakers on the ongoing fight against tobacco. Our goal is to build champions within the legislature and a groundswell of advocates to advance our goals: a long overdue increase in the cigarette tax, parity between the tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products, increased funding for tobacco prevention cessation programs and legislation to increase the minimum age of sale for tobacco products to 21.