Georgia

Clean Indoor Air

Public Places

Smoking is prohibited in many enclosed public places. “Public places” are defined as an enclosed area to which the public is invited or permitted; see the statute cited below for a more detailed list of places this definition covers. A private residence is not a public place unless it is used as a licensed child care, adult day-care or health care facility. Exemptions include: 1) 20 percent of hotel/motel rooms; 2) retail tobacco stores as defined, provided that secondhand smoke from such stores does not infiltrate into areas where smoking is prohibited; 3) long-term care facilities as defined; 4) outdoor areas of places of employment; 5) smoking areas in international airports; 6) private and semiprivate rooms in health care facilities; 7) all workplaces of any entity dealing with tobacco products; 8) bars and restaurants as specified; 9) convention facility meeting and assembly rooms in convention facilities not owned, leased or operated by state or local government when these places are used for private functions as long as persons under 18 are prohibited from attending or working at the function; 10) smoking areas designated by employers as specified; 11) parts of workplaces open to the general public by appointment only; and 12) private clubs, military officer clubs and noncommissioned officer clubs. An owner, operator, manager, or other person in control of an establishment, facility, or outdoor area may declare that entire establishment, facility, or outdoor area as a nonsmoking place.

GA. CODE ANN. §§ 31-12A-1 et seq. (2005).

Smoking tobacco in any form is prohibited in a public transit bus, rapid rail car, rapid rail station or intermodal bus station. Violation is a misdemeanor subject to a fine of $50 to $100 for a first violation and $100 to $250 fine and/or ten days in jail for the second and subsequent violations.

GA. CODE ANN. § 16-12-120 (1998).

Government Buildings

Smoking shall be prohibited in all enclosed facilities of, including buildings owned, leased, or operated by, the state of Georgia, its agencies and authorities, and any political subdivision of the state, municipal corporation, or local board or authority created by general, local, or special act of the General Assembly or by ordinance or resolution of the governing body of a county or municipal corporation individually or jointly with other political subdivisions or municipalities of the state.

GA. CODE ANN. § 31-12A-3 (2005).

Private Workplaces

Smoking is prohibited in all enclosed areas within places of employment, including, but not limited to, common work areas, auditoriums, classrooms, conference and meeting rooms, private offices, elevators, hallways, medical facilities, cafeterias, employee lounges, stairs, restrooms, and all other enclosed facilities. Such prohibition on smoking shall be communicated to all current employees by July 1, 2005, and to each prospective employee upon their application for employment. Exceptions include outdoor areas of places of employment, and all workplaces of any manufacturer, importer, or wholesaler of tobacco products, of any tobacco leaf dealer or processor and all tobacco storage facilities. Designated smoking areas are allowed in workplaces if they are located in a non-work area where no person is required to enter as part of their work responsibilities, have a separate ventilation system that exhausts directly to the outside, and is for use by employees only. Additionally, smoking is allowed in common work areas, conference and meeting rooms, and private offices in private places of employment, other than medical facilities, that are open to the general public by appointment only; except that smoking shall be prohibited in any public reception area of such place of employment.

GA. CODE ANN. §§ 31-12A-5 & 31-12A-6 (2005).

Schools

Smoking is prohibited in educational facilities.

GA. CODE ANN. §§ 31-12A-2(10) & 31-12A-4 (2005).

Child Care Centers

Smoking is prohibited in many enclosed public places and enclosed areas within places of employment, which includes all child care facilities. The term “place of employment” also includes home-based child care facilities.

GA. CODE ANN. §§ 31-12A-1 et seq. (2005).

Health Facilities

Smoking is prohibited in health care facilities. “Health care facility” means an office or institution providing care or treatment of diseases, whether physical, mental, or emotional, or other medical, physiological, or psychological conditions, including, but not limited to, hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals or other clinics, including weight control clinics, homes for the chronically ill, laboratories, and offices of surgeons, chiropractors, physical therapists, physicians, dentists, and all specialists within these professions. Long-term care facilities as defined are exempt as well as private and semiprivate rooms in healthcare facilities as long as all patient(s) have permission to smoke from their treating physician.

GA. CODE ANN. §§ 31-12A-2 & 31-12A-4 (2005).

Restaurants

Restaurants: Smoking is prohibited in restaurants unless the restaurant denies access to persons under 18 and does not employ persons under 18. Smoking is also allowed in private rooms in restaurants if the room is enclosed, separately ventilated from the rest of the building and the air is exhausted directly to the outside.

GA. CODE ANN. §§ 12-31A-2, 12-31A-4 & 12-31A-6 (2005).

Bars: Smoking is allowed in bars unless the bar allows access to persons under 18 and does not employ persons under 18. Smoking is also allowed in private rooms in bars if the room is enclosed, separately ventilated from the rest of the building and the air is exhausted directly to the outside.

GA. CODE ANN. §§ 12-31A-2, 12-31A-4 & 12-31A-6 (2005).

Penalties/Enforcement

“No-smoking” signs may be clearly and conspicuously posted and ashtrays must be removed by the owner, operator, manager, or other person in control of every public place and place of employment where smoking is prohibited. A person who smokes in a nonsmoking area is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of $100 to $500. The Department of Human Resources and the county boards of health and their duly authorized agents are authorized and empowered to enforce compliance and are allowed to enter upon and inspect the premises of any establishment or business at any reasonable time and in a reasonable manner.

GA. CODE ANN. §§ 31-12A-8 to 31-12A-11 & 16-12-2 (2005).

Tobacco Excise Tax

Cigarettes

Tax rate per pack of 20: 37 cents

Date last changed: July 1, 2003 — from 12 cents to 37 cents

Year first enacted: 1923

GA CODE ANN. § 48-11-2 (2003).

Other Tobacco Products

Smokeless tobacco: 10% of the wholesale price

Cigars: 23% of the wholesale price

Little cigars: $.0025 each

GA. CODE ANN. § 48-11-2 (2003).

Revenue Collected

$217,800,000

Youth Access

Compliance/Enforcement

The State Revenue Commissioner, acting through special agents or enforcement officers, shall annually conduct random, unannounced inspections at locations where tobacco products are sold or distributed. Persons under the age of 18 years may be enlisted to test compliance; provided, however, that such persons may be used to test compliance only if the testing is conducted under the direct supervision of such special agents or enforcement officers, and written parental consent has been provided. Any other use of persons under the age of 18 years to test compliance with this article shall be unlawful and the person or persons responsible for such use shall be subject to specified penalties.

GA. CODE ANN. § 16-12-175 (2000).

Photo ID: In any case where a reasonable or prudent person could reasonably be in doubt as to whether or not the person to whom cigarettes or tobacco related objects are to be sold or otherwise furnished is actually 18 years of age or older, it shall be the duty of the person selling or otherwise furnishing such cigarettes or tobacco related objects to request to see and to be furnished with proper identification in order to verify the age of such person. “Proper identification” means any document issued by a governmental agency containing a description of the person, such person’s photograph, or both, and giving such person’s date of birth and includes, without being limited to, a passport, military identification card, driver’s license, or a state identification card. Violation is a misdemeanor. The failure to make such request and verification in any case where the person to whom the cigarettes or tobacco related objects are sold or otherwise furnished is less than 18 years of age may be considered by the trier of fact in determining whether the person selling or otherwise furnishing such cigarettes or tobacco related objects did so knowingly.

GA. CODE ANN. § 16-12-170(5) & 16-12-171 (1996).

Penalties for Sales to Minors

It is unlawful for any person to knowingly sell or barter, directly or indirectly, any cigarettes or tobacco related objects to a minor; to knowingly allow a minor to operate a vending machine that dispenses tobacco products; to purchase any cigarettes or tobacco products or objects for any minor unless the minor is the child of the purchaser; or to advise, counsel or compel any minor to smoke, inhale, chew, or use cigarettes or tobacco related objects. Violation is a misdemeanor. This shall not apply with respect to the sale of cigarettes, tobacco products, or tobacco related objects by a person when such person has been furnished with proper identification showing that the person to whom the cigarettes, tobacco products, or tobacco related objects are sold is 18 years of age or older.

GA. CODE ANN. § 16-12-171 (1996).

Penalties to Minors

It shall be unlawful for any minor to purchase, attempt to purchase or possess for personal use cigarettes or tobacco related objects, except this shall not apply when a parent or guardian of such minor gives the cigarettes or tobacco related objects to the minor and possession is in the home of the parent or guardian and such parent or guardian is present. It is also unlawful for minors to misrepresent their age or identity to purchase cigarettes or tobacco related objects. A minor who commits an offense may be punished by requiring 20 hours of community service, requiring attendance at a lecture or discussion on the health hazards of smoking, or a combination of both.

GA. CODE ANN. § 16-12-171(b)(1) (2007).

Sign Posting

Any person owning or operating a place of business where tobacco products are sold shall in a conspicuous place post a sign containing the following statement: “SALE OF CIGARETTES, TOBACCO, TOBACCO PRODUCTS, OR TOBACCO RELATED OBJECTS TO PERSONS UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE IS PROHIBITED BY LAW.” Any person who fails to comply with this requirement shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

GA. CODE ANN. § 16-12-172 (1993).

Restrictions on Distribution of Tobacco Product Samples or Sales of Single Cigarettes

Samples

It is unlawful for a person to distribute tobacco product samples at no cost to any person under 18 years of age, or for any person under this age to receive such samples. A person distributing tobacco product samples shall require proof of age if an ordinary person would conclude that an individual is younger than 18. Samples also may not be distributed on public streets, sidewalks, or parks within 500 feet of schools or playgrounds when they are being used primarily by persons under 18 years of age. Any violation of this section is a misdemeanor.

GA. CODE ANN. § 16-12-174 (1993).

Single Cigarettes

No tax stamp may be affixed to, or made upon, any package of cigarettes or loose or smokeless tobacco if the package differs in any respect with the requirements of the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, for the placement of labels, warnings, or any other information upon a package of cigarettes or loose or smokeless tobacco that is to be sold within the United States. Violation is a misdemeanor. In addition, the applicable license to deal in tobacco products may be revoked upon violation.

GA. CODE ANN. § 48-11-23.1 (2000).

Restrictions on Sale of Tobacco Products in Vending Machines

Placement

The sale of cigarettes or tobacco related objects from vending machines is restricted to locations not readily accessible to minors, including, but not limited to, factories, businesses, offices, places where alcoholic beverages are offered for sale, areas where minors are not permitted, and rest areas adjacent to roads and highways of the state. Vending machines are also permitted in areas under continuous supervision of an employee of the establishment who will observe the purchase of tobacco products from the machine. Nontobacco products, other than matches, are not allowed to be dispensed from vending machines that dispense tobacco products.

GA. CODE ANN. § 16-12-173 (2007).

Penalty

Violation of the restrictions on placement of tobacco product vending machines is a misdemeanor. The sentence for a first offense shall be a fine not to exceed $300.

GA. CODE ANN. § 16-12-173 (2007).

Sign Posting

Any person who maintains in such person’s place of business a vending machine which dispenses cigarettes, tobacco products, or tobacco related objects shall place or cause to be placed in a conspicuous place on such vending machine a sign containing the following statement: “THE PURCHASE OF CIGARETTES, TOBACCO PRODUCTS, OR TOBACCO RELATED OBJECTS FROM THIS VENDING MACHINE BY ANY PERSON UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE IS PROHIBITED BY LAW.” Violation constitutes a misdemeanor provided, however, penalty for the first offense is a fine not to exceed $300.

GA. CODE ANN. § 16-12-173 (2007).

Licensing Requirements

Requirements

Cigarette and cigar manufacturers, dealers (retailers), and distributors must be licensed to sell tobacco products from the state Revenue Commissioner. A separate license shall be required for each place of business. Each license, except a dealer’s license, shall begin on July 1 and end on June 30 of the next succeeding year unless suspended or revoked. Dealer’s licenses are valid indefinitely unless suspended or revoked.

GA. CODE ANN. § 48-11-4 (2004).

Fee

Licenses for tobacco dealers are free of charge. Manufacturer, importer, or distributor licenses cost an initial $250 per place of business and an annual renewal fee of $50; cigarette and other tobacco product vending machine licenses are $1 per machine annually.

GA. CODE ANN. § 48-11-4 (2004).

Tobacco Liability

Industry Protection

The “Civil Litigation Improvement Act of 2000,” limited the amount of the supersedeas bond for the punitive damages portion of a civil judgment to $25 million and provided that such limitation shall not apply if the court finds after notice and hearing that the appellee has proved by a preponderance of the evidence that the appellant is purposefully dissipating or secreting its assets or diverting assets outside the jurisdiction of the United States.

GA. CODE ANN. § 5-6-46 (2000).

Tobacco Settlement

Tobacco Control Appropriations

Georgia allocated $2,281,670 for tobacco prevention and cessation programs in FY2009 (July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009) from the state’s annual MSA payment. $2,249,875 was allocated in FY2008.

FY2009 Annual Budget (H.B. 990) enacted 5/14/08 and effective 7/1/08.

Securitization

Created the One Georgia Authority as an instrumentality of the state, and not a state agency, and a public corporation performing an essential governmental function. The authority may issue bonds for the purpose of facilitating economic development, for the improvement of public health, safety, and welfare and for other public purposes through the provision of financing and financial assistance. Any bonds, revenue bonds, or securities of any kind issued may only be secured by obligation of a business, enterprise, or proceeds paid to the state of Georgia pursuant to funds received by the state from the tobacco settlement. The Authority shall not have outstanding at any one time bonds and notes for financing of enterprises exceeding $1 billion.

GA. CODE ANN. §§ 50-34-1 et seq. (2000).

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