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Cigarette Tax Could Be Raised

January 4th, 2013 by WCBC Radio

Smokers in Maryland pay one of the nation’s highest tax rates on cigarettes, and they could pay even more this year if state health advocates get their way. Vincent DeMarco, a prominent health lobbyist in Maryland, is urging lawmakers to raise the state’s $2-a-pack cigarette tax to $3 during the upcoming session of the  General Assembly, which would vault Maryland’s tax from the 11th highest in the nation to the sixth highest. States have jumped on cigarette tax hikes as a way to generate revenue and curb smoking in recent years, with 21 states and the District raising their rates since Maryland last did so in January 2008, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. However while it has curbed smoking to some degree, in areas such as western Maryland, smokers simply cross state lines to nearby West Virginia and Pennsylvania to spend their money. Delegate Leroy Myers said that in border counties such as Allegany and Garrett- people aren’t smoking less as a result of the tax, but the region is losing a revenue stream to neighboring states…

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