Override the Governor's Veto
Dear [Decision Maker],
Today, Governor Hogan vetoed HB 732, which included line items for increasing the state's cigarette tax by $1.75-per-pack, increases the tax on some types of other tobacco products, taxes electronic smoking devices for the first time, and earmarks $18.25 million toward tobacco prevention and cessation programs. I am writing to ask you to override Governor Hogan's veto of HB 732, the next time session is convened. The actions of the General Assembly were correct in March when the bill overwhelmingly passed and this bill is more important now--than ever.This tax is a long overdue in Maryland, as our state has not passed a single tobacco tax increase in over a decade. We were also pleased with the Maryland General Assembly's decision to provide the state's tobacco control programs with strong funding that will help prevent tobacco addiction and save lives. This bill would have made a significant difference for the people of Maryland, as well as the state's economy at this much-needed time. As our state battles COVID-19, it's critical that we strengthen our public health.Not only was the bill projected to increase annual state revenue by over $95 million, but it would also have decreased the long-term health care costs from adult and youth smoking declines by more than $973 million. The $1.75 per pack cigarette tax increase was also estimated to reduce smoking in youth under age 18 by 18.2%. Additionally, it would have helped to pay for the Maryland Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Settlement and to fund the costs as necessary associated with COVID-19.Additionally, this tax was one that was frankly long overdue in Maryland, as our state has not passed a single tobacco tax increase in over a decade. Smoking is still linked to more than one-quarter of cancer-related deaths in our state--and results in $2.7 billion per year in state health care costs. Additionally, 23% of Maryland high school students are currently using e-cigarettes, which have been linked to the use of other tobacco products.Significantly increasing tobacco taxes is one of the best ways to reduce tobacco use.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP][Your Email]