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Number of Teens Who Use Tobacco Products Expected To Go Down As State Tax On Products Increases
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October 24, 2012
Health care advocates say the state tax increase on chewing tobacco and little cigars that went into effect in July will cut by a third the number of teens who use those products. They released a University of Maryland Study saying as much today at Mergenthaler Vocational Technical high school. WYPR’s Joel McCord reports.
Vincent DeMarco, head of the Health Care for All coalition, said the move to raise taxes on tobacco products other than cigarettes began at Mergenthaler, so it was only right to hold a news conference there.
“A year ago you came together in this school and said there’s a big problem. Many of our young people are becoming addicted to cigars and smokeless tobacco and it’s killing them.”
The advocates went to Annapolis, where the General Assembly passed in May tax increases that raised the price of a five pack of little cigars, such as Swisher Sweets, by a dollar and a half, and a tin of chewing tobacco by 50 cents.
Lia Harris, a senior at Mergenthaler, said that could make it too expensive for many of her friends.
“When you walk around, when you see a lot of children smoking, recently you barely see them, you know. And I think it has a lot to do with the raising of the taxes.”
The study said that despite the drop in teen tobacco use, the state will still get more revenue from the higher taxes.
I’m Joel McCord, reporting in Baltimore for 88.1, WYPR.
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