Dashing hopes that high cigarette taxes would bring fiscal relief to teetering Maryland, smokers there flip off the politicans and keep on smoking at a fairer price. After having seen high tobacco taxes backfire in New York, Washington and New Jersey, greedy politicians in Annapolis doubled the cigarette tax to $2 per pack only to see the projected financial windfall disappear like a wisp of smoke. They shouldn’t have been surprised since it is a universal truth that people will not pay grossly inflated prices for a commodity that can be purchased far cheaper outside the approved tax-collection system.

Maryland now joins the club of stupid states that saw tobacco tax revenue disappear as smokers bought their smokes elsewhere. Since low-tax Virginia is just a hop and a skip from the densely populated suburbs of southern Maryland it didn’t take long for the tax revenue shortfall to become obvious. While some especially stupid legislators claim they are happy that "fewer people are smoking" other still-stupid legislators rushed to write a law that forbids state residence from carrying two or more packs of cigarettes that aren’t purchased within Maryland. Boy, that will really slow down the cigarette tax hemorrhage!

One would think that after reality kicked the Maryland political class in the butt the legislators would wise up and immediately reduce the cigarette tax to just a bit higher than the tax in Virginia. The incentive to cross the state line would decrease and Maryland smokers would buy locally, even cutting back on online cigarette sales. That would make sense but since anti-tobacco is a mental disorder that prevents policy makers from recognizing their insanity the tax flight will continue while legislators devise ever more ridiculous schemes to prevent their citizens from enjoying a smoke at a fair price.



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