Higher cigar taxes won't reduce teen tobacco use

January 08, 2012

Contrary to Vincent DeMarco's claims, minors have access to tobacco products because youth and retailers are breaking the law ("Cigar tax increase would reduce teen use," Jan. 4). Increasing taxes is not the answer; enforcing the law is.

Higher taxes will cause additional economic hardship to Maryland's small business owners in the midst of the worst economy in 30 years.

If these businesses close, the unemployed will potentially seek public assistance. This one-two economic gut punch will only exacerbate Maryland's fiscal challenges.

Maryland's law-abiding adult premium cigar consumers are already paying high taxes. If the state legislature increases cigar taxes, adult consumers will take their business across state lines to lower- or no-tax states, costing Maryland precious revenue.

Bill Spann, Columbus, Ga.

The writer is CEO of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association.

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