INDIANAPOLIS — Officials from Tobacco Free Indiana, a coalition of national and state health organizations, praised a plan released today, Dec. 16, by Indiana Speaker of the House Brian Bosma that would generate revenue to increase Medicaid funding by increasing the tobacco tax.
“We’re pleased that House GOP members see the value in raising the tobacco tax,” said Monique Hill French, chair of Tobacco Free Indiana. “We look forward to working with Indiana legislators during the upcoming session to work for a one dollar increase in the tax — an increase significant enough to make an impact on the health of Hoosiers.
“Indiana is one of the 10 unhealthiest states in the nation and much of that is directly related to having one of the lowest tobacco taxes in the nation and an adult smoking rate that is six percent higher than the national average. Higher prices are one of the proven strategies to reduce smoking rates and improve health.”
Indiana’s current tobacco tax of $0.995 per pack is more than a dollar lower than most surrounding states and ranks 34th overall. The tax has remained unchanged since 2007. The adult smoking rate in Indiana is 22.9 percent, which is six percent higher than the national average. Research suggests that a 10 percent increase in tobacco prices leads to as much as a 7 percent decline in adult smoking rates.
American Lung Association Support
The American Lung Association in Indiana also supports the cigarette tax increase. An increase will help reduce the cycle of addiction to tobacco, it will help prevent a lifetime of addiction and will ultimately save lives.
As tobacco use continues to be the number one cause of preventable death in the United States, killing 11,000 Hoosiers and costing Indiana $3 billion in health care bills each year, the Lung Association in Indiana staunchly supports a cigarette tax increase by at least a $1.
Every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces consumption by 4 percent among adults and 7 percent among youth.
The American Lung Association urges the Indiana General Assembly to significantly increase the cigarette tax. A substantial increase to the cigarette tax in Indiana will keep kids from becoming an addicted adult smoker, help Hoosiers quit smoking and ultimately save lives.