Drug and Tobacco Free Starke County discussed the state’s proposal to increase taxes on cigarettes in the Hoosier state.
The organization continues to wait for details. Additional information is expected to be released once the Indiana General Assembly begins the short session in January. State health advocacy groups are calling for as much as a $1 per cigarette pack increase to deter smoking.
According to the American Lung Association a 10-percent increase in cigarette prices leads to a seven percent reduction in usage. Good thing too, according to Judy Jelinek with Drug and Tobacco Free Starke County. She says some may be forced to quit due to the financial constraints of increased prices. That could lead to an overall improvement in resident health in the state.
She says Drug and Tobacco Free Starke County is waiting to hear exactly how the anticipated increase in revenue will be used. The current proposal calls for supplementing Medicaid in Indiana.
Jelinek says tobacco prevention funding has been decreased over the last several years. Funding remains, but has been largely re-directed by state legislators for other uses.
Indiana ranks 34th in the nation in measured categories such as overall health. Jelinek says that if the tax increase results in better health, the end may justify the means.