Doctors lobby for cigarette tax

Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009 12:50 PM
Last updated 12:51 PM
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ATLANTA -- More than 45 doctors from around Georgia roamed the halls of the state Capitol this morning lobbying legislators to pass House Bill 39 which would raise the tax on a pack of cigarettes by $1.

The higher tax would discourage teenagers from smoking and developing what is often a life-long and deadly habit, said Dr. Jacqueline Fincher of Thomson, who is vice president of the Georgia chapter of the American College of Physicians.

More than 180,000 Georgia children will grow up to die of cancer, she said, noting that 8.5 percent of all middle-school students here say they already smoke.

"I have spent a lot of time and effort trying to get my patients to quit smoking. The reality is that most smokers started as teenagers. Ask them," she said. "We know that increasing the tobacco tax directly helps to prevent and decrease smoking in all age groups, but especially teenagers."

The measure is awaiting a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee. Its sponsor, Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, told the doctors he is gaining optimism about its chances.

"The momentum is there," he said. "It's moving."

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areyoukiddinme 02/05/09 - 02:01 pm
Dr. Fincher, how 'bout

Dr. Fincher, how 'bout lobbying for some property tax relief while you're up there with those glorious GA legislators....I'd pay $1 extra if I could keep my homestead exemption...Run that by 'em while you're there...

backpac-bill 02/05/09 - 04:57 pm
Hey Doc why not lobby for a

Hey Doc why not lobby for a $1 tax on chicken/beef products.

MAnd130630 02/05/09 - 10:07 pm
Why is it that all of these

Why is it that all of these know it alls always want to raise the so called sin tax? I can legally inhale all of the fumes from smoking cars or the toxins from all of these air polluting factories but I can not smoke a cigarette on the cheap. Where are the priorities? I have said once before Don't make me pay for someone's're on your own. If you can't afford them don't have them. Health care as you put it is the main reason for wanting to raise the tax so you can diagnose a child for breathing treatments and then overcharge the very agency that reaps the benefits of such raised tax. Dr. Fincher probably smokes. If you raise a tax on something that not everyone does...what are you going to do if everyone stops ?, Seeing that every government, big or small spends money that they think they are going to get before actually receiving it, it's kind of ridiculous to bank on making money in these trying times. Let's see..Food in my stomach or firing up a cigarette.

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