Cigarette tax advocates keep pushing despite deadline

ATLANTA --- Groups calling for a $1 increase in the cigarette tax announced Wednesday that they had gathered more than 1,000 signatures on an online petition in 48 hours.

Representatives of the groups delivered printouts of the signatures to the governor's office, but a spokesman for Gov. Nathan Deal said they didn't change the governor's opposition to tax increases.

The groups, which include the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association and the retiree group AARP, remain determined even though the deadline passed a week earlier for the legislation to remain viable.

"This is an ongoing problem. If we don't get it this year, we're going to keep advocating for this," said Eric Bailey, a representative for the American Cancer Society.

Doctors who treat smoking-related illnesses were at the groups' news conference at the Capitol to express frustration with legislators' reluctance to boost the tax high enough to discourage teenagers from picking up the smoking habit.

"The real tragedy for me, the real crime, is that there are proven policies that we know will not only reduce smoking in adults but also reduce the likelihood of kids beginning to smoke and then becoming lifelong smokers as adults," said Dr. Harry Heiman, a professor at Morehouse School of Medicine. "That's important because we know that half of the children that start smoking before age 18 will die of tobacco-related illnesses."

To retailers who worry a higher tax will cost them to lose business, he was unsympathetic.

"My response to them, as a physician and someone engaged in public health in Georgia, is, candidly, too bad," he said. "It's the same as my response to drug dealers in our neighborhoods and those pushing for payday loans."

Legislation that would raise the tax is pending in the House but for less than the $1 per pack the groups want. The legislation is part of a sweeping package stemming from recommendations from a council on ways to reform the tax code to lower personal and corporate income taxes while raising various sales taxes. That legislation is stalled until next year, partly because of public reaction to the package's added taxes on groceries and services.

Heiman said the medical groups weren't concerned about the procedures of the General Assembly that essentially make it impossible to pass a higher cigarette tax this year.

"Our responsibility isn't dictated by the legislative calendar," he said.

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Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 03/23/11 - 01:00 pm
0
0
Do you think an extra dollar

Do you think an extra dollar is going to stop teens from smoking?

Chillen
17
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Chillen 03/23/11 - 01:27 pm
0
0
No new taxes! This time it's

No new taxes! This time it's cigarettes. Next it will be wine, bottled water, french fries, computers. Whatever the govt wants to single out. All products should be taxed the same. We dont need the govt to tax certain things more in order to change our behavior.

Sweet son
10415
Points
Sweet son 03/23/11 - 01:39 pm
0
0
Nothing to do with cigarettes

Nothing to do with cigarettes but a lot to do with health insurance issues. Need to place scales in front of the fast food counters. If you are overweight, then a dollar extra should be added to to your combo meal! Send the dollar to the same place that the extra cigarette dollar will be sent. Of course I believe that both extra dollars will be wasted by some group!

texred
0
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texred 03/23/11 - 01:42 pm
0
0
Make it fair, add taxes on

Make it fair, add taxes on liquor also! ! ! !

dichotomy
33010
Points
dichotomy 03/23/11 - 02:42 pm
0
0
Sure am glad them tax free

Sure am glad them tax free bootleggers are doing their thing. I guess in a pinch I can step across the state line. With all the closed up businesses out my way I do most of my shopping in North Augusta anyway.

floridasun
310
Points
floridasun 03/23/11 - 02:56 pm
0
0
I have no problem with more

I have no problem with more tax on cigarettes. Its better than a tax on general grocery items

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 03/23/11 - 03:00 pm
0
0
How about mind your own

How about mind your own business and your own health issues......if people want to smoke it is their right to do so, just like a drug addict uses drugs and an alcholic buys liquior. Such hippocrits, if smoking is so bad then shut down big tobacco, but wait, they can't do that, it brings in to much revenue....these people need to get a life for real. the taxes have already gone up and no one I know has quit smoking, if people want to smoke they will find a way regardless of the cost, think about it drug addicts spend tons of money on drugs because they are addicted, same with smokers. I am not disagreeing that smoking is bad for you, of course it is but it is an individuals right to smoke if they want to and they should not be punished financially because of it. All these decisions mostly affect the working mans pocket the worst, they are the ones who smoke out of stress.

ru4real77
0
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ru4real77 03/23/11 - 05:13 pm
0
0
WOW.. so we(meaning our

WOW.. so we(meaning our government NOT the citizens) keep raising the taxes on cigarettes, but we do not stop people on welfare who use their EBT cards at fast food restaurants. Smoking, drinking, fast food are NOT necessities. I am in no way saying smoking is a good thing, but why continue to go for a higher tax on a pack of Marlboro, when we allow people who are overweight to continue to pack a bigmac in? Obesity is very expensive to the tax payers as is someone who has gotten cancer from smoking. Overweight people can go on disability, get food stamps, medical paid... Why target a smoker and not an overweight person?Or an alcoholic? Are taxpayers NOT aware that the overweight man in front of you in line at the drive-thru is probably on state help, receives disability, and most likely has COPD(just like a smoker), but he is still in the drive thru. I agree with the poster that said put a scale in front of the line @ fast food places. Charge them $1.00 PER item(burger, fries, drink) and let's see who calls discrimination. Just like people do NOT like people who smoke, I don't like not being able to park closer to the store cause someone is overweight and has a handicap sticker. Personally, I think it is a tax that is plain our ignorant and discriminatory.
That being said I am NOT against overweight people, I am not against smokers, I am not against alcoholics.. We all have a "demon" that we enjoy(legally) and why is it smokers continue to see a higher tax than others?
We pay enough taxes in this country, and I think the government needs to find a better way to spend them!

corgimom
32599
Points
corgimom 03/23/11 - 06:25 pm
0
0
Another smoker died today.

Another smoker died today.

Her name was Elizabeth Taylor.

How long will we, as a society, continue to pay for the health costs of smoking?

"Overweight people can go on disability, get food stamps, medical paid..."

And so do people with lung cancer, emphysema, COPD, and congestive heart failure. My brother is going to go on disability soon- he is dying and it's all because of smoking. He's 55. He already has the sick, skinny look of someone who has to struggle to breathe.

I see people in McDonald's all the time who aren't obese. But smoking always kills. You need to eat; no one ever needs to smoke.

dashiel
176
Points
dashiel 03/23/11 - 07:50 pm
0
0
Why do the do-gooders always

Why do the do-gooders always insist on taxing compulsive people?
My grandfather smoked till the day he died. Of course he was 97 at the time and went peacefully in his sleep, not screaming and hollering like the other people in his car. If he came back today and discovered cigarettes selling for $5.00 a pack, he'd probably start rolling party joints with his grandchildren. Candy and chewing gum, your days are numbered.

Why do the do-gooders always want to tax compulsive people? Are they jealous or something? Let's all sing the do-gooder anthem: Don't tax you, don't tax me; tax the man behind that tree.

augusta citizen
9355
Points
augusta citizen 03/23/11 - 10:50 pm
0
0
Yes, Elizabeth Taylor was a

Yes, Elizabeth Taylor was a smoker, a heavy drinker and obese much of her latter life. She was also 79. What difference do any of the vices make? Absolutely, heavy drinking, over eating and smoking are bad for our health, no one argues that, but as long as smoking cigarettes is legal, why is there such a punitive attitude toward smokers? The smokers that I know have jobs and pay for their health insurance, their deductibles and the 20% of their medical costs that their insurance doesn't pay. Where does "it" end? It being anything from smoking to not eating organic, who's the moral judge and where does it end?

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 03/24/11 - 08:24 am
0
0
My guess is that smokers and

My guess is that smokers and non smokers will eventually die.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 03/24/11 - 08:28 am
0
0
ru4real77 - Can you tell me
Unpublished

ru4real77 - Can you tell me ONE fast food restaurant that accepts EBT?

Is there even a correlation between EBT and smoking cigs?

I am sure the gov't knows that people will spend whatever on cigs. . . .remeber, as some will say, the country in "broke". . . .so. . . .

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 03/24/11 - 09:12 am
0
0
Smoking stinks, drunks with

Smoking stinks, drunks with day old breath stink, drug addicts act stupid. Why do any of it-you too weak to handle day to day life? Not me.

macelindak
7
Points
macelindak 03/24/11 - 09:26 am
0
0
Why can't we be satisfied,

Why can't we be satisfied, always trying to tell others what to do. Didn't our ancestors come to the U.S. because they were tired of the government telling them what they could do. Everyday, it seems someone in Gov. tries to take away one of our rights. We need to use the brain and common sense God gave us, to live our own lives. There are pros. and cons. to everything. I don't smoke in public buildings or other inclosed areas where my smoke should bother anyone else, so if I want to light one up out in the outside air[can't say fresh air anymore because of all the pollution and heaven knows what is in it]. Please allow me my freedom to do so, my ancestors fought just as hard as anyone elses for this. Taxes aren't the answer to our problems, people in higher govt., wasting our money on trips, expensive clothing,$10,000 dinners with security, is what we should do something about. Stress of all the problems in my life, is the main reason I don't quit smoking, may sound like a cop out, but it's true. Maybe some of you up tight people should try it, it might relieve some of your tension and you would leave the rest of us alone. The more everything costs, the more pressure it puts on us all. As for teens, my heart goes out to each of you, growing up and maturing is hard enough by its self, no wonder so many are trying to find ways to deal with it.

ru4real77
0
Points
ru4real77 03/24/11 - 12:04 pm
0
0
ILOVE: I sure can.. if you

ILOVE: I sure can.. if you have an EBT card you can use it at McDonalds, KFC,Taco Bell to name a few. And Corgimom your right everyone has to eat, but it what they eat. I am not saying that smoking does NOT have its health factors, what I am saying is that it seems that anytime there is a need for a tax hike , it goes to smokers. It is just time to pick on another group of people. And your facts of what smoking causes: lunc cancer,COPD,Emphysema-- your right put so does living in a polluted environment from factories, car pollution, etc. Pretty much anything you do in today's world will link to a health risk. It is just high time that another group of -- smokers have been taxed to many times. Oh and you do NOT just have to be overweight to have health problems from eating out.. ever watch SuperSize Me? I have been in the health care field for over 15 years.... I have seen what LIFE does to a body. We will all die in the end, sorry that some of us want to satisfy certain "demons" within that life. You could never smoke, and never drink and die from a heart attack early in life.. you could smoke and drink and live to be 100... it is all genetics. My great grandpa smoke from the time he was 14(before filters, before underage sale) till the day he died @ 96 yrs old... No COPD, NO emphysema, not even the typical "smokers" cough.. explain that one? Just saying there are other habits that are just as bad. Non smokers say that smoking is a dirty, nasty habit..well I for one thing compulsive eating is one, I think excessive gambling is one, I think hoarding is one.. so lets tax the over eaters, gamblers, and hoarders the same way we do smokers... Each one of us has our own addictions in life-- not a single person doesn't have an addiction. It is in the eyes of others that try to make some people's addictions bad or good.

InChristLove
22473
Points
InChristLove 03/24/11 - 12:55 pm
0
0
Very well stated ru4real77!

Very well stated ru4real77! thank you

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
Points
Crime Reports and Rewards TV 03/24/11 - 01:48 pm
0
0
If cigarette butts keep being

If cigarette butts keep being thrown down, taxes will keep going up.

sugarbutton
904
Points
sugarbutton 03/24/11 - 04:35 pm
0
0
I don't suppose any smokers

I don't suppose any smokers contribute to the American Lung Assoc, American Cancer Society, et al. so that dollar a pack they'll pay in taxes won't affect the donations. NOT. It's a vicious circle. What will the giverment do with the money? Waste it, divert it to other entitlement programs, etc. Who's next? They gotta have a target to replace this one when it implodes. Tobacco grows well in the South & there's no law against growing it for personal use. Or is that law coming next? Maybe they'll tax growing corn for the table cause they want it for ethanol. How much per gallon of gas is nothing but taxes? How much is it per gallon now? Blame big oil for anything you want, but a big chunk of the price is taxes, big oil had to refine it & get it to us, the taxes (city, county, state & federal) didn't work for it. Replace the above with "tobacco"... get my point? A little long winded but taxes get on my nerves.

LadyKatherineMoonflower
0
Points
LadyKatherineMoonflower 03/24/11 - 09:02 pm
0
0
I have been a smoker since I

I have been a smoker since I was 7 years old ! Not because of this that or the other . Go figure I am a 4 time cancer survivor and none of it came from smoking and my doctor checked my lungs and they are clean. But sure punish the smokers again and again for it all. I tried to quit but it is hard when all that they offer for quit smoking cost more than a carton !
Also the patch I am allergic to due to the adhesives ! But All the quit smoking programs you go to only offer the patch . Hives anyone?
So I even went out and bought an E-Cigg which is a non-harmful way to get nicotine and help with the hand mouth issue as well. Problem again it causes cotton mouth so bad that you end up sick after two uses.
The gum taste horrible! And as for the medicines the doctor prescribes they are anti-depressants that cause major side effects. I have quit for 10 weeks cold turkey and well back to smoking again.
The British did a study on it and it is harder to quit smoking cigarettes then it is to quit crack or cocaine.
I think Junk Food should have more taxes Obesity is the number one killer in the US ! Why do they keep punishing us?
When other things kill more everyday then smoking does !

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