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Tobacco tax increase isn't a lost cause

2015 bill would add $1 to the cost of a pack of cigarettes

Although we recognize that after the Nov. 4 election it will be very difficult to enact any tax increase in 2015, we are not, as The Sun recently reported, "abandoning" our pursuit of further life-saving tobacco tax increases ("Budget likely to dominate otherwise unpredictable session," Jan. 10).

Maryland's recent increases in taxes on cigarettes and little cigars have substantially reduced smoking, particularly among teens, and saved tens of thousands of people from tobacco-related deaths and illnesses.

To build on this progress, Sen. Rich Madaleno, vice-chair of the state Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, and House Ways and Means Committee member Del. Eric Luedtke will reintroduce the Healthy Maryland Initiative dollar-per-pack tobacco tax increase legislation during the 2015 General Assembly Session.

We, along with the over 750 faith, community, labor, business and health care groups from across the state that support this proposal will work as long as it takes to make it law. The lives and health of many thousands of Maryland children and adults depend on it.

Vincent DeMarco, Baltimore

The writer is president of the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative.

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