Friday, April 18, 2008

Taxes on tobacco used for non-smoking programs?

Governor O’Malley collects $540.8 million this year from tobacco settlements and tobacco taxes, and yet he will only spend $18.4 million on tobacco prevention programs. The CDC or Center for Disease Control has a recommendation that MD spend $30.3 million on tobacco cessation programs, while tobacco companies spend more then 192 million on marketing in Maryland. The amount that O’Malley will spend is just slightly over half the amount recommended. Other troubling figures are as follows; Kids (under 18) who become new daily smokers each year 7,700. Adults who die each year from their own smoking 6,800. Annual health care costs in Maryland directly caused by smoking 1.96 billion a year.

Maryland's spending on tobacco prevention amounts to 3.4% of the $540.8 million in tobacco-generated revenue the state collects each year in tobacco settlement payments and tobacco taxes.

What few people understand is that the tobacco settlement is only income for 25 years from date of settlement. This isn’t a “cash cow” forever, and to put $522.4 million into the state “slush fund” is doing nothing to curb tobacco use (the supposed purpose of the suit.) Not one dime of the recent $1.00 a pack increase in cigarettes has been earmarked for cessation programs or to be put towards tobacco users health care.

Now let’s look into the future for a minute. Martin O’Malley won’t be the Governor, so of course he doesn’t care what happens when the money from big tobacco dries up. But I ask you, when tobacco’s substities to state coffers is over, and the politicians have gotten so used to spending that money on other “programs,” who do you think they will come to make up the difference? And you thought 18.4 million in new taxes per year was a lot?


Anonymous said...

Hey! Why worry about tomorrow...let's live for today, and the hell with everyone
else!!!! Guess O'Malley figures that is our problem!!! And guess what, it

Kevin said...

It's not just in Maryland. Almost every state is doing the same thing.