House Bill 864 Takes Dangerous Step Back in Protecting Georgia Youth
ATLANTA, GA – March 5, 2020 – Yesterday, the House Ways & Means Committee passed HB 864, advancing legislation that would reduce tobacco taxes on certain products by half and fail to adequately tax e-cigarettes amidst talks to significantly increase Georgia’s dangerously low tobacco taxes.
The statement below is on behalf of Government Relations Director, Andy Freeman in reaction to yesterday’s committee vote.
“With the third lowest cigarette tax in the country, Georgia should be significantly increasing taxes on all tobacco products, not giving some products a tax-break. If enacted, HB 864 would reduce the tax on some tobacco products by 50%, tax e-cigarettes at a rate lower than all other tobacco products and leave some e-cigarettes from being taxed at all.
Failing to tax e-cigarettes at the same rate as other tobacco products will help exacerbate the youth e-cigarette epidemic and is a tatic right out of Big Tobacco’s playbook. Big Tobacco created the current youth tobacco epidemic. We can’t trust them to come up with a solution that benefits anything other than its bottom line.
Alarmingly low tobacco tax rates like Georgia’s push adults to continue their addiction by switching to a cheaper product rather than quit altogether, and leaves our kids susepctible to the tobacco industry’s pressures with a more attractive price tag that encourages them to fall into a lifetime of tobacco addiction.
One of the most effective ways to prevent youth tobacco intiation and help adults who are addicted to quit is by enacting regular and significant tobacco tax increases. We call on Georgia lawmakers to increase the state cigarette tax to $1.87 per pack and increase the tax on all other products, including-cigarettes to parallel the new rate.
All tobacco products are dangerous and should be regulated as such. Given the epidemic of tobacco use among our youth, we can’t afford to give e-cigarettes, or any tobacco product, a tax break that functions to solely benefit the tobacco industry and its allies.”
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