News Release

A Loss for Public Health

Legislation Vetoed That Raised Tobacco Tax, Funded Tobacco Control and COVID-19 Emergency Response
for Immediate Release

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – May 7, 2020 – Today Governor Hogan vetoed House Bill 732 which would have taken a stand to protect public health by increasing funding for tobacco control, funding emergency response to COVID-19, and raising the tobacco tax.

Members of the Maryland Tobacco Free Coalition including the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and MD PIRG make the following statement: 

“We are very disappointed in Governor Hogan’s action today.  House Bill 732 would have implemented evidence-based policy, made a great investment in tobacco control and raised the tax on tobacco to combat the epidemic of tobacco use – all while addressing the current pandemic of COVID-19 with much needed funding. 

By vetoing this bill the Governor is putting tobacco interests above public health and endangering the lives of Marylanders.  Additionally, he is turning down critical new revenue to combat the current pandemic.

We thank our bill sponsors Del. Eric Luedtke and Sen. Cory McCray for their leadership and vision to create a healthier Maryland and combat the COVID-19 pandemic. We urge the General Assembly to override this veto to protect public health and make the needed investments in emergency COVID-19 response.” 

The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies, and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.

About the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids 

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: A future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco. We work to save lives by advocating for public policies that prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect everyone from secondhand smoke. For more information, visit tobaccofreekids.org. 

About the Maryland Public Interest Research Group

The Maryland Public Interest Research Group (Maryland PIRG) is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy organization that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in democratic society.  

Support us

Your donation supports Maryland PIRG's work to stand up for consumers on the issues that matter, especially when powerful interests are blocking progress.

Consumer Alerts

Join our network and stay up to date on our campaigns, get important consumer updates, and take action on critical issues.
Optional Member Code



Maryland PIRG is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to getting things done.