Passing an increase during the 2013 assembly session could be an uphill battle, but Mr. DeMarco said he is ready to continue his fight through the 2014 election cycle.
He pointed out that two of the most notable recent victories for state health lobbyists - the 2007 cigarette-tax increase and a 2011 hike on the state alcohol sales tax - came immediately after election years in which his organization and others pressured candidates to take a stand for or against regulating tobacco and alcohol use.
Mr. DeMarco said lawmakers could quietly kill a cigarette-tax increase in coming years, but that he expects many will pledge their support in the 2014 election cycle so as not to appear soft on curbing underage smoking and protecting public health.
“We will make this an issue in the election,” Mr. DeMarco said. “I really think we can get it done by 2015.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
David Hill joined The Washington Times in February 2011 as a Maryland political reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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