Will Georgia lawmakers raise the state's tobacco tax?

Clay Bennett poses for a photo illustration about smoking outside of the Chattanooga Times Free Press on Wednesday, Jan 24, 2018 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Georgia has the nation's third-lowest tobacco tax, but a new bill could raise it above the national average as lawmakers seek ways to raise revenue while lowering the medical costs associated with cigarette smoking.

The bill would raise the state's tobacco tax from $0.37 per pack to $1.87. Thirty seven states have a tax of $1 or more, and the national average is $1.81 per pack.

Kasey Carpenter, R-Dalton, a member of the Ways and Means Committee where House Bill 731 was introduced, said even though it would raise a substantial amount of revenue, he doesn't think the bill has a good chance of passing this year.

"I don't think there's an overwhelming desire to increase the tax, at least in the Republican Caucus," Carpenter said. "There are some folks that are interested in it, but not the guys that I'm talking to."

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