UPDATE: Healthcare Advocates Push For Cigarette Tax Hike - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

UPDATE: Healthcare Advocates Push For Cigarette Tax Hike

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Maryland smokers may be coughing up more money for a pack of cigarettes.

Today, health care advocates and community leaders sent letters to every candidate in the General Assembly to endorse a a $1 increase of tobacco taxes, bringing the tax to $3-a-pack. The letters described a media and grassroots campaign, including pictures of print ads, to rally Marylanders around the initiative.

"We want the people to speak and elect a general assembly committed to increasing the cigarette tax, to reduce teen smoking and expand health care," says Vincent DeMarco, with the Maryland Health Care For All! Coalition. "It's good policy and good politics and we encourage every candidate for General Assembly in every part of the state to endorse it."

We asked our viewers their thoughts on the push.

"It would discourage teens from paying more money to buy cigarettes, and I think that is actually a growing concern," said Benjamin Ruiz, a Salisbury University student.

"I am a little weary of any type of additional taxes, because I think we're already taxed to death," said Elizabeth Alexander of Princess Anne, Md. 

Advocates say they are giving candidates until May 23rd to sign their letters, and then they plan to let the public know who is supporting the tax.

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