Area interest groups are praising a plan announced on Wednesday to increase taxes levied on tobacco products in the Hoosier State.
The plan would increase cigarette taxes to help fund Medicaid. Some groups are pushing for a $1 increase, putting Indiana more in line with neighboring states. Indiana has an adult smoking rate of more than 22-percent. That’s four percentage points above the national average.
The American Lung Association and Tobacco Free Indiana say they are planning to work with legislators during the short session which starts in January to help shepherd the proposal through.
Indiana ranks in the bottom half of states in overall health, coming in at 34th in the nation.
According to a press release, Tobacco Free Indiana says a 10-percent increase in tobacco prices leads to as much as a seven percent decline in adult smoking rates.
The American Lung Association says tobacco use kills 11-thousand residents annually and increases the state’s healthcare bills by $3-billion. They could not immediately be reached for comment.
Any tobacco tax related proposal is likely to be considered once the Indiana General Assembly has been called to session in January.
Drug and Tobacco Free Starke County did not immediately return messages requesting comment.