Nunavut gets praise from state of Georgia
It is very good to see that our neighbors to the far north have taken great steps forward to address smoking issues.
We think it is tremendous that the Nunavut government has banned smoking in workplaces and public places. The Georgia General Assembly will be considering such a law to ban smoking in those places throughout our state. By the end of March, we hope that another letter may tell you that our workplaces, including restaurants and bars, will be smoke-free on July 1.
The tax rates in Canada are outstanding. Until July 1, Quebec’s low tax rate beat our best state tax by one cent, but now New Jersey has gone up to $2.40 per pack.
In Georgia, the excise tax on cigarettes was 12 cents for 32 years. That brought in $81 million a year, but it cost the Medicaid system $419 million to treat tobacco-caused diseases.
Thus, non-smokers were picking up much of the burden. Then in 2003, we were able to push our legislators to increase it. They gave us only a 25-cent increase on cigarettes but that, and new taxes on other tobacco products, brings in another $180 million.
But as you can figure, money is still taken out of the pockets of nonsmokers to pay for tobacco’s ill effects.
Keep up the good work Nunavut. You are a good example for Georgia.
Dr. Gordon Draves
Georgians Against Smoking Pollution (GASP)
East Point, GA 30344