The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update


June 3, 2014

Viewpoint: Indiana should raise its state tobacco tax

World No Tobacco Day is an annual awareness event that draws worldwide attention to the tobacco epidemic and highlights the need for effective policies to reduce tobacco use. Minority Health Coalition of Madison County is proud to support World No Tobacco Day this year as they focus on the effectiveness of raising tobacco taxes.

Indiana has one of the lower state taxes on cigarettes at only 99.5 cents. Three of the four states surrounding Indiana are considerably higher. Illinois state tax is $1.98 — that is almost double that of Indiana.

Indiana can raise the tax on tobacco products and still compete with the surrounding states as well as collect more revenue from it and save money on health care costs because fewer people will be smoking. This is all money put to good use for Hoosiers, especially in programs to help decrease tobacco.

An increase in tobacco taxes have been proven to reduce tobacco use by promoting cessation among current users, preventing initiation among potential users, and reducing consumption among those who continue to use tobacco.

Research shows when cigarette price and tax increases work even more effectively to reduce smoking among males, blacks, Hispanics, and lower-income smokers. They have also found that it will reduce smoking among pregnant women by 7 percent saving tens of thousands of newborns from smoking related health consequences.

Hoosiers need to support World No Tobacco Day by supporting a state tax increase on tobacco products. If Indiana raised its cigarette tax by $1 per pack, it could prevent 102,900 Indiana kids alive today from becoming smokers, save 45,600 Hoosiers from smoking-caused deaths, produce more than $2 billion in long-term health care savings, and raise more than $339 million in new revenue each year, according to Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.


Jacquelyn Washington is tobacco coordinator for the Minority Health Coalition of Madison County.



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