Citizens for Clean Air in Apartments

Maryland House Gives Preliminary Approval To $1 Cigarette Tax Increase
The Maryland House of Delegates gave preliminary approval yesterday, March 25, 1999, to a proposal to raise the state's cigarette tax by $1 per pack. "This is a great victory for the children of Maryland," said Vincent DeMarco, executive director of the Maryland Children's Initiative.

"The House of Delegates stood up to the tobacco lobby and defeated all attempts to weaken or kill the bill." Final House approval could come this week.

The bill would then move to the Senate, where Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. is strongly opposed to a tax increase.

The chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, Sen. Barbara Hoffman (D), said that some form of a tax increase will pass her committee, and the bill's sponsor, Sen. Chris Van Hollen Jr., said, "I'm optimistic we'll get a healthy tax out of the committee."

WASHINGTON POST, (3/25/99) "Cigarette Tax Increase Moves Forward In Md.", Robert Pierre, p. B1
Excerpted from the AP
March 25, 1999: The Maine Senate followed the lead of the House and voted Wednesday to outlaw all smoking in Maine restaurants.

The Senate voted 26-6 in favor of 100% smokefree restaurants. The House voted 100-48. "The only loser in this kind of legislation is the tobacco industry," said Dr. Dora Mills, the state's health director. Mills left the door open to expanding the ban in the future to pool halls and taverns.

Supporters of the ban have framed their proposal as a restaurant worker health issue, saying 44,000 waiters, waitresses, cooks and other workers face a daily hazard of secondhand smoke.

Sen. Philip Harriman, R-Yarmouth, questioned why the ban did not extend to taverns so all workers would be protected, and suggested an amendment to that effect would be presented. "If we have a health menace in the workplace, we ought to treat all workers the same," said Harriman.

Judy Paradis, Senate chairwoman of the Health and Human Services Committee, explained why supporters did not seek smokefree taverns. "We're taking a half loaf instead of a full loaf," said Paradis, whose committee narrowly endorsed the bill.

As the bill came up for debate, the Maine Restaurant Association said a survey showed that 73 percent of Maine's restaurant owners believe they should have the option of ventilating their buildings, and half think they will lose customers if smoking is banned.

The restaurant group said the poll, conducted March 20-21 by Strategic Marketing Services of Portland, was funded in part by the Philip Morris Company.

Tobacco Taxes Won't Hurt The Poor
Robert Hess, president and chief executive officer of the Center for Poverty Solutions, supports Maryland's proposed cigarette tax and argues that the tax will benefit the poor -- a constituency targeted by Big Tobacco for years.

"We cannot stand by while tobacco companies entice more low-income people to buy a product that causes disease and death. The argument that raising tobacco prices will hurt the poor and their families is absurd. If we are really concerned about poor Marylanders, let's raise the cigarette tax by $1 per pack, give the poor access to smoking cessation services and spend the eventual cost savings on programs that can effectively reduce poverty and promote good health. Helping families overcome poverty and its many related problems helps all of us."

BALTIMORE SUN (on-line), (3/26/99) "Tax Big Tobacco", Robert Hess

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