February 28, 2018
Alcohol and cigarettes are common consumer products that are associated with large numbers of injury and disease. Over the past decade, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation that increased taxes on these two products. The legislation had two aims: to reduce the harm caused by alcohol and cigarette consumption and to generate revenue for public health priorities in Maryland.
Did the legislation achieve those aims? And, if so, what can we learn from the experience?
In this Abell Report, experts from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health detail the public health benefits of the laws and analyze the revenue generated by them. The researchers conclude that taxing some consumer products is a policy strategy that has the potential to improve the public’s health.
Specifically, the authors found that following the alcohol sales tax increase in 2011:
Following the $1.00 per pack cigarette tax increase in 2008:
Based on their research, the authors provide four recommendations for maximizing public health gains through state policy:
1) Consider taxes an effective policy strategy to improve the public’s health.
2) Monitor the public health impacts of tax policy.
3) Ensure transparency for bills that generate revenue.
4) Employ effective advocacy strategies when promoting public health policy initiatives.
Read the report here.
Read the report appendix on the Firearm Safety Act here.