In Maryland, cigarettes cost more today
Smoking got a little more expensive in Maryland this morning.
As of midnight, the state excise tax on a pack of cigarettes shot from 36 cents to 66 cents -- to the delight of health advocates and to the dismay of store owners who fear a loss of sales. Maryland is the only state raising tobacco taxes this year. Glendening had sought an increase of $1 a pack but settled on 30 cents after his bill was almost derailed by a filibuster as the legislative session ended in April. The governor and other advocates predict the tax will stop many teen-agers from taking up the habit and cause others to quit because of the added cost. "Combined with the $30 million per year the governor has pledged for anti-smoking programs, this 30-cent increase in the cigarette tax will keep thousands of children from becoming addicted to tobacco," said Vincent DeMarco, who lobbied for the tax increase for a coalition of health care providers and others. But many smokers who stopped at the Perry Hall cigarette store, where the walls are covered with tobacco products and little else, resent having to pay an extra 1.5 cents per cigarette. Maryland's 66-cent-a-pack tax is the highest of any jurisdiction in the area, although the District of Columbia, with a rate of 65 cents, is a close second. In Delaware, the tax is 24 cents a pack, meaning a carton of 10 packs will cost $4.20 less than in Maryland. That has caused concern among store owners who rely on cigarettes for a major portion of their profits.