Maryland bumps up tax on tobacco products

The phrase “smoke ’em if you got ’em” dates back to World War II, but Maryland is increasing taxes on tobacco products, which might make it harder to do either.

The move comes as lawmakers passed the state’s $63 billion budget legislation Friday.

A variety of tobacco tax increases, including an additional $1.25 on a pack of cigarettes, will help generate about $91 million for K-12 education, though that amount is estimated to drop off due to a projected decline in tobacco use.

The American Lung Association praised the increase Saturday, noting that the tax jump from $3.75 to $5 per pack will “give Maryland the second highest cigarette tax in the nation” behind only New York.

“Tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States,” Aleks Casper, Director of Advocacy for the American Lung Association in Maryland, said in a statement.

“We applaud the budget leaders, committee chairs (Del. Ben) Barnes and (Sen. Guy) Guzzone for taking another step forward for public health as the tobacco tax in Maryland is now one of the highest in the nation. Raising the taxes on tobacco products is one of the most effective ways to help smokers to quit, prevent kids from starting to use tobacco products, and save lives in Maryland.”

Other tobacco products are also seeing a tax increase to the tune of 60% of the wholesale price. The sales and use tax on electronic cigarettes will increase to 20% as well, according to the American Lung Association.

The organization said 15.6% of high school students use a tobacco product and 14.7% use an electronic smoking device in Maryland.

“Research shows a 10% increase in the price of cigarettes would be expected to decrease tobacco consumption by 4% among adults and 7% among youth,” it said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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