A new report suggests Georgia’s Legislature should raise taxes on tobacco use.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network lobbies for public policies to fight cancer. It recommends Georgia raise its excise tax by at least $1.50 on a pack of cigarettes.
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Georgia Health News editor Andy Miller believes the additional revenue could help struggling health care providers.
“You could put it into a fund to help rural hospitals in terms of if they have to expand, if they have to upgrade their equipment, recruiting doctors,” Miller says.
He believes the idea of raising the tax in Georgia could gain traction soon.
“The political arithmetic is going to be changing in the next year with the gubernatorial election, and so it may take leadership at the top to make this happen,” he says.
Anti-smoking advocates say raising tobacco taxes reduces cancer rates. Georgia smokers pay an excise tax of 37 cents per pack of cigarettes. New York pays the highest at $4.35 cents a pack.
Georgia’s excise tax on cigarettes hasn’t gone up since 2003. Only two states have lower taxes – Missouri and Virginia.