Tobacco Tax Goes Into Effect Tuesday

Tuesday, the tax on each pack of cigarettes will go up 25 cents, partly thanks to area healthcare workers, some of that money can be allotted towards supplementing Medicaid payments.

Budget cuts have been hard on healthcare facilities, so this march when Atlanta lawmakers tossed around the idea of cutting Medicaid payments to hospitals by ten percent, area health care workers offered another suggestion.

"Increasing tobacco tax was a fair way to bring extra revenue to the budget because there are so many heath care costs associated with tobacco use," says Rick Ivey, of Archbold Hospital.

Representatives from Archbold Hospital were among those who lobbied for this in Atlanta, and as of Tuesday, the tax on a pack of cigarettes will increase from 12 cents to 37 cents, and this isn't as high as healthcare workers wanted.

Archbold's original plea was for a 75-cent increase, but they say they're happy with what they got.

"It did provide us with some budget cut relief and we believe it will prevent some teen smoking and some smoking by adults because of the increased cost," says Rick.

Of course, you can’t make everyone happy.

"It could be good for the deficit, go to your community or to the cities for help, but for the smokers it's bad because we have to pay more for cigarettes."

Healthcare workers told us only a constitutional amendment can earmark the tax money directly to medical care, but additional revenues created by the tax can make up for cuts in Medicaid payments.

Cigar tax is going up from 10 percent to 23 percent and smokeless tobacco is getting taxed for the first time by 10 percent.