Research shows Indiana proposed cigarette tax could help lower smoking rates

Anti-smoking advocates are trying to convince Hoosiers to stop lighting up. They're proposing a tax hike on cigarettes for the state of Indiana.

The Alliance for Healthier Indiana has been trying to lower Indiana’s smoking rate because it’s the 44th highest in the nation.

The alliance, which is made up of state health and business leaders, created a proposal:

  • Increase tax on tobacco by $1.50 from current rate of 99.5 cents. That would make the new total a little less than $2.50 per pack.
  • Increase the minimum legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21.
  • Repeal the Smoker’s Bill of Rights, which is a 1991 law that offered protection to employees who smoke.
  • Increase funding for tobacco prevention programs.

Many are skeptical that the proposal will really help Hoosiers cut down.

New research from Indiana University’s School of Public Health shows that it just might.

The study included information from other states that increased their cigarette tax. When it was raised, sales declined. Illinois raised tax by $1 in 2012 and sales dropped 31.2%.

Vice-President elect Mike Pence denied a tax in the past when he was Governor. Now that Governor-elect Eric Holcomb will take office, the legislative session that begins this month could get lawmakers to pass the proposal. 

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