MAG urging Georgia Senate Rules Committee & full Senate to pass tobacco tax increase

The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is urging the Georgia Senate Rules Committee and then the full Senate to pass H.B. 882 by Rep. Houston Gaines (R-Athens) – legislation that would increase the state’s tobacco tax from 37 cents per pack of 20 cigarettes to $1.35 per pack and allow consumable vapor products to be taxed at $1.25 per fluid millimeter or cubic centimeter.

“Georgia’s cigarette tax is the 47th lowest in the nation, and it has not increased since 2003,” points out MAG President Andrew Reisman, M.D. “Increasing the tax would generate millions of dollars when the state is facing an 11 percent budget cut that could affect key health care programs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – and keeping in mind that Georgia spends about $650 million a year treating patients for tobacco-related illnesses.”  

Dr. Reisman also thanks and applauds Georgia Senate Finance Committee Chair Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome) – as well as committee members Sens. John Albers, Lester Jackson, Nan Orrock, Michael ‘Doc’ Rhett, and Bruce Thompson – for passing this crucial legislation.   

MAG is part of a coalition of leading physicians’ groups that have supported this legislation since it was introduced, including the Georgia Chapter of the American College of Physicians, the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Georgia Association of Family Physicians, the Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society, and the Georgia Society of Clinical Oncology. 

Dr. Reisman concludes that, “This bill is going to enable Georgians to live happier, healthier, and more productive lives.”