Georgia has the lowest tobacco tax of all surrounding states and ranks 48th in the country. Despite the need for more state funds in 2012, the governor and legislature continued to reject consideration of a boost in Georgia's cigarette tax by $1.00 per pack.
Georgia's state tobacco prevention program runs on minimal funds. The state quit line is funded by Master Settlement Agreement funds, but few dollars are available to promote or improve the service. Georgia is among the bottom tier of states in funding tobacco prevention.
Georgia is one of the few states that provide no funding for any Medicaid recipient seeking help for quitting smoking, despite the well-documented return on investment. The Department of Community Health has complied with the Affordable Care Act requirement to provide smoking cessation coverage to Medicaid recipients who are pregnant. State employees now have coverage for prescription tobacco cessation medications for one quit smoking attempt per year.
Chatham County joined the city of Savannah in passing a comprehensive smokefree air law. Augusta looks to be the next city to pass a similar ordinance. Atlanta became the largest city in the southeast to prohibit smoking in their parks and recreation centers. Georgia K-12 school districts, along with colleges and universities, are prohibiting smoking campus-wide in increasing numbers.
The gap between Georgia and other states continues to widen in public policies to reduce the burden of tobacco use. The Lung Association in Georgia will continue to work to close that gap by supporting passage of a significant cigarette tax increase to prevent kids from starting to smoke and to motivate smokers to quit, by pushing for local smokefree air laws to protect people from the dangers of secondhand smoke, and urging the expansion of tobacco cessation coverage for all Medicaid recipients.
|•||Economic Cost Due to Smoking:||$5,681,925,000|
|•||Adult Smoking Rate:||21.1%|
|•||High School Smoking Rate:||17.0%|
|•||Middle School Smoking Rate:||5.8%|
|•||Smoking Attributable Deaths:||10,546|
|•||Smoking Attributable Lung Cancer Deaths:||3,437|
|•||Smoking Attributable Respiratory Disease Deaths:||2,660|
Adult smoking rate is taken from CDC's 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. High school smoking rate is taken from the 2011 Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System. Middle school smoking rate is taken from the 2011 Youth Tobacco Survey.