Maryland Citizen's Health Initiative Tackles Health Care Coverage With Higher Cigarette Taxes

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Dates of Support: January 1996 to September 2007; the Campaign continues.

Field of Work: Reducing the use of tobacco among youth.

Synopsis of the Work: The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids was a national program that promoted policy and environmental changes to prevent and reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, especially among children, as well as changes that will minimize the harm caused by tobacco. Other funders include the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Story Told: With the help of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the Maryland Citizen's Health Initiative worked to increase the state cigarette tax to fund a Medicaid expansion and provide state funding for tobacco control. As described in the sidebar, the campaign provided technical assistance and funding for advertising promoting the Medicaid expansion and tobacco control funding.

In 2007, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed two bills that raised the cigarette tax by $1 per pack and gave 100,000 Marylanders access to health care coverage through a Medicaid expansion.

"The Campaign provided us with a level of expertise in tobacco [control] advocacy, media and research that we didn't have in-house," said Vincent DeMarco, JD, MA, president of the Maryland Citizen's Health Initiative. "We could not have gotten the excise tax passed without [its] assistance."