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      Md. health advocates celebrate alcohol tax

      ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland health advocates are celebrating a 50-percent increase in the state's sales tax on alcohol.

      The sales tax on alcohol rises Friday from 6 percent to 9 percent.

      It's the first alcohol-specific tax increase in the state in 38 years.

      Advocates say the tax will help reduce underage drinking and alcohol abuse.

      It's estimated the state will collect about $85 million a year from the tax increase.