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Study: Tax hike would cut smoking, raise revenue

Study: Tax hike would cut smoking, raise revenue

ATLANTA -- A new study argues that Georgia could cut smoking by 20 percent and yield almost $400 million in additional tax revenues with a $1 pack increase in cigarette taxes.

University of Georgia professor James MacKillop did the research. He is a psychologist who specializes in behavioral economics, the study of what makes individuals act in certain ways in the marketplace.

MacKillop based his results on assessments of 1,056 smokers in Georgia, Rhode Island and South Carolina. The study measured reactions to various prices, with the cost ranging from free to $20 per pack.

Georgia's current cigarette tax is 37 cents per pack. The average pack in Georgia costs $4.37. Both are among the lowest rates nationally.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded MacKillop's research.

Protect Your Kids and Pets from Summer Heat

Protect Your Kids and Pets from Summer Heat

Summer in the south is officially here! With rising temperatures, it is important to take steps to protect those around us who might be vulnerable to the heat, like our children and pets.

Did you know that we lose heat by sweating? Water literally evaporates into the atmosphere and sucks the heat out of our bodies. Children produce even more heat than adults. This is because they have more body surface for their height. Children are also closer to the ground – and to hot pavement. They can easily become dehydrated or overheated.

Here are some tips to keep your children and pets safe in the heat.

The ABCs of SPFs

The ABCs of SPFs

ATLANTA -- Summer is officially here. Are you protecting your skin from the sun? Do you know what SPF (sun protection factor) to use? We spoke with Piedmont dermatologist Jodi Ganz, M.D., to find out what those SPF numbers really mean.

“The SPF number means it would take you that much longer to burn than you normally would without sunscreen,” says Dr. Ganz. “If it takes you 10 minutes to burn, then using an SPF5 means it would take you five times longer, or 50 minutes, to burn. An SPF10 means you could stay in the sun 10 times longer, or 100 minutes.”

But Dr. Ganz cautions that most sunscreens “break down” on average in two hours, meaning they lose their ability to protect you. So, you must reapply sunscreen every two hours.

10 Ways to Prepare for an Emergency

10 Ways to Prepare for an Emergency

The official start of the hurricane season is Friday. Whether it's severe weather, fire, a lengthy power outage, evacuation, would you know what to do in any type of emergency?

To stay safe in an emergency, it is crucial to have a solid communication plan in place for you and your family. Read more from HealthWatchMD, powered by Piedmont, for our top tips for communicating in an emergency.

UGA researcher gets $3M grant for TB study

UGA researcher gets $3M grant for TB study

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - A University of Georgia researcher has received a nearly $3 million federal grant to track how tuberculosis spreads in Africa's urban areas.

Christopher Whalen will use the five-year National Institutes of Health grant to study along with researchers in Uganda at Makerere University. Experts say there are 9 million new episodes of TB each year.

His research will focus on identifying what types of human interaction are causing the spread of the disease and where in each community it is most likely being transmitted.

The study will track a group of not-ill patients over a year to determine the types of interaction they are having.

Belk raises $1M for Susan G. Komen

Belk raises $1M for Susan G. Komen

ATLANTA -- Belk, Inc. has raised more than $1 million for Susan G. Komen for the Cure to help win the fight against breast cancer.

The funds were raised through the company-wide "Pink is Our Passion" campaign held at the department stores in October.

"We want to thank our associates and customers for their generosity in supporting our breast cancer campaign, which has raised more than $2 million over the past two years for Susan G. Komen for the Cure," Tim Belk, chairman and CEO of Belk, Inc., said in a statement. "We're proud of our partnership with Komen and look forward to our continued efforts to raise more funds to fight this disease."

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Pink is Our Passion was part of a three-year movement to raise $3 million for Komen and its breast cancer initiatives.