ANNAPOLIS, May 16, 2024 – Marylanders will enjoy stronger policies on tobacco, cleaner air and better access to lifesaving cardiac response measures after Gov. Wes Moore signed several bills into law over the past few weeks.

“This legislative session was an incredible series of victories for the health of every single Maryland resident,” said Laura Hale, the American Heart Association’s Government Relations Director for Maryland.

“The American Heart Association applauds our lawmakers for their efforts to keep tobacco out of young people’s hands, reduce secondhand vape exposure, and increase opportunities for people who suffer a cardiac arrest to receive lifesaving CPR,” Hale said.

On Thursday, the governor signed an update to the Clean Indoor Air Act that now prohibits vaping and e-cigarette use in public indoor areas, places of employment, and on specified mass transit systems.

The governor also signed the budget bill on Thursday, which includes significant tax increases on tobacco and nicotine products. Beginning July 1, the state’s cigarette tax will be raised by $1.25 per pack. Taxes for other tobacco products will increase to 60% of the wholesale cost, and sales tax on e-cigarettes will increase to 20%.

Last week, Gov. Moore signed into law Tobacco Retail Licensing Reform. The tobacco reform bill raises the cost of licenses to sell tobacco to $300, requires annual compliance checks for every license holder, and 6-month inspections for violators of underage sales with the ability to suspend and revoke licenses for repeat violators.

Reforms also require all tobacco and nicotine products be sold from behind the counter.

“These comprehensive reforms are vital in our fight against tobacco-related illnesses,” said Seth Martin, President of the American Heart Association, Baltimore & Greater Maryland Board of Directors, and a cardiologist with Johns Hopkins Medicine.

“Both tobacco and e-cigarette use are linked to heart disease and severe health dangers. It's particularly important to keep these products out of the hands of young people, as early exposure can lead to a lifetime of addiction and health problems,” he added. “Furthermore, second-hand smoke from both traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes poses serious health risks.”

The governor has also signed two pieces of legislation that will improve the likelihood of someone receiving CPR when they suffer a cardiac arrest outside a hospital setting.

One new law gives every Maryland jurisdiction access to better training in Telecommunicator CPR for its 911 specialists.

Joe Greco, who saved the life of a friend who had suffered a cardiac event following a pickup basketball game, said the 911 operator’s instructions were critical to his response.

“From the perspective of someone who was faced with providing CPR in a real life or death situation, the guidance provided by the 911 specialist was not only a huge comfort but also provided tactical guidance that was incredibly helpful in dealing with an immensely stressful situation,” Greco said.

Greco is grateful 911 specialists will have improved access to CPR training “so that anyone faced with a similar situation that I faced will have the same lifesaving support that I received.”

The Bailey Bullock Act, named for a 16-year-old who died after a cardiac arrest following track practice outside his school in May 2021, requires all public and non-public schools in Maryland to have Cardiac Emergency Response Plans in place at their sporting venues. The governor signed that bill in late April.

The American Heart Association thanked the number of volunteers and organzations who advocated for these policies throughout the 90-day legislative session.

“All of these things are possible because of you,” Hale said. “Your voices, your time, your advocacy has kept Maryland healthy and is making Maryland a healthier place to be.”


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for a century. During 2024 - our Centennial year - we celebrate our rich 100-year history and accomplishments. As we forge ahead into our second century of bold discovery and impact our vision is to advance health and hope for everyone, everywhere. Connect with us on, Facebook, X or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

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