Cancer Patients and Survivors Travel to Atlanta During Recess to Urge Legislators to Increase State’s Tobacco Tax

Asking Georgia Lawmakers to Save Lives and State Dollars Lost to Tobacco

February 12, 2020

ATLANTA, GA – February 12, 2020 –Over 50 cancer patients, survivors and caregivers from across the state traveled to the State Capitol in Atlanta today to meet with Georgia lawmakers about the need to increase the state’s low tobacco tax to $1.87 per pack of cigarettes, accompanied with an increase in the tax on all other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to 39% of the wholesale price.

The push for the life and cost-saving legislation comes at a time when state legislators are working to resolve Georgia’s budget deficit. If enacted, the significant increase would bring an estimated $425.18 million in new annual revenue for the state.

In Georgia alone, 55,190 people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year, and 17,990 will die from the disease. Those gathered at the Capitol are calling on Georgia lawmakers to change this by taking steps to make the fight against cancer a priority. The visit is part of the annual American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Day at the Capitol event.

“As a cancer advocate, I let my lawmakers know that if we’re going to eliminate cancer as a major health problem in Georgia, a significant tobacco tax increase must be top of mind for our legislature,” shared ACS CAN Vice State Lead Ambassador Rev. Jill Henning. “It’s time our lawmakers make cancer a priority and fulfill their promise to ensure the health of Georgians. By raising our state’s low tobacco tax to $1.87 per cigarette pack, paralleled with a 39% tax on the wholesale price of all other tobacco products, we could reduce suffering and death from this disease as well as save the state millions of dollars that have been lost in the tobacco epidemic.”

Specifically, Georgia volunteers asked the legislature to commit to effectively addressing the youth tobacco epidemic and resolving the state’s budget crisis by:

  • Significantly increasing the state’s low cigarette tax to $1.87 per pack. Such an increase is vital to ensure a real impact on the health of Georgians as well as the fiscal health of the state and will effectively prompt 59,700 adults who smoke to quit. Anything lower would make little difference in the welfare of residents and the state. 
  • Enacting a parallel tobacco tax of 39% of the wholesale price of all other tobacco products to deter people who smoke from switching over to other highly-addictive products
  • Dedicate a meaningful amount of annual revenue from the raised tax to the state’s woefully underfunded youth prevention tobacco programs that are proven to prevent youth initiation of tobacco products

“The $3.18 billion in smoking-related health expenditures spent annually can be significantly reduced.  Increasing the cigarette tax to $1.87 per pack would provide $1.84 billion in long-term health care costs savings,” shared ACS CAN State Lead Ambassador and business owner Lee Turner, who traveled from Tifton. “Increasing the tobacco tax significantly in this way would mark a historic move for our state, one that will not only diminish the death and suffering caused by cancer but bring continuous health and fiscal benefits for Georgia for years to come.”

**Photos of the day are available upon request**


The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit

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