A state tax that would have added 5% to all purchases of snack foods has been voted down by Maryland legislators.

It would have been the first time an American state placed a levy on snacks such as crisps, pretzels and nuts.

Created, not as a health statement but a purely income-generating fund, the 'snack tax' was cancelled after the House Ways and Means Committee had been pressured by a county that had Frito-Lay as its biggest employer.

The Grocery Manufacturers of America had also been trying to defeat the tax, saying it would have disproportionately affected low-income families.