Each year we inch closer to making this a reality and we’re making an all-out push in 2019 to see that an increased tobacco tax finally crosses the finish line. Why is this important?
According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Indiana kids are smoking at higher rates than the national average and that is leading to 3,700 Hoosier kids under the age of 18 starting to smoke each year! With an adult smoking rate of more than 21% - much higher than the national average of 13.9% - it is imperative we do something now.
The human cost to smoking is tragic – especially when we know that increased tobacco taxes will have a direct, positive impact on this situation. However, we can’t ignore the fiscal impact either. Each family in Indiana is saddled with $909 in expenses from federal and state smoking-caused expenditures.
“We can’t sit idly by and watch this trend continue,” said Danielle Patterson, Government Relations Director for Indiana. “We know we have a huge problem and we have a proven solution. What we’ve lacked are the votes in the legislature to get this done. I’m confident 2019 will be our year.”
Indiana’s current tobacco tax rate is just under $1 at 99.5 cents per pack which is 38th in the nation. 65% of Hoosiers said they supported a $2 increase in the tobacco tax in a recent state-wide poll.