Floyd Board of Health supports cigarette tax

January 23, 2009
Rome News Tribune

The Floyd Board of Health has passed a resolution supporting a one-dollar-a-pack increase in Georgia's cigarette tax and urging the General Assembly to enact enabling legislation during its current session.

"Boards of health in Bartow, Chattooga, Dade, Polk and Walker counties have passed similar resolutions to Floyd's," said Northwest Georgia Public Health's Dr. Wade Sellers.

Sellers cites a recent report by The Trust for America's Health and the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute examining potential return on investment for public health interventions in Georgia. The report finds that strategic investments in disease prevention could result in significant savings to Georgia's health system and its payers, including employers and the state budget. The report estimates that an annual investment of $10 per Georgian in community-based programs to increase physical activity, improve nutrition and prevent smoking could generate savings of more than $426 million annually within 5 years. This would amount to a return of $4.77 for every $1 invested. Of the $426 million, Georgia's Medicaid program could see $16 million in annual savings, while private payers such as employers and employees could see savings of nearly $270 million. "The distribution of the savings suggests that both the public and private sectors should be investing in community-based public health programs in Georgia," said Sellers. "But monetary savings are only part of the story -- healthier individuals and communities mean a healthier workforce and a healthier economy," Sellers added.

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