Calling for a Tobacco Tax Increase
A public health commission created by Governor Holcomb last year recently recommended that Indiana invests $250 million in the state’s local public health infrastructure. That is welcome news in a state that has long ranked 45th in per capita public health funding.
Strengthening our local health departments is a worthy goal that lawmakers should prioritize next year. But the work to improve health should not end there. Indiana must also address the leading cause of preventable death in our state: tobacco use.
Our state has the 6th highest adult smoking rate in the nation. To substantially improve health, we must address this.
Significantly raising the tax on all tobacco products should be on the agenda. Doing so will help people who use tobacco quit and deter kids from a lifetime of addiction. It would also generate significant revenue that Indiana could invest in our woefully underfunded health programs.
We celebrate the commission’s work. It is a great start to improving Indiana’s health and lawmakers can accelerate the progress by making sure we significantly raise the tax on all tobacco products and invest in tobacco prevention and cessation programs to prevent kids from starting to use tobacco and help those already addicted to quit. With support from, Courtney Horning
Director, Smokefree Communities James R. Porter, M.D.,
Physician Division, Deaconess Health System
David Ryon, M.D.,
Pulmonologist, Deaconess Hospital JoAnn P. Wood, M.D., VP & CMO,
Deaconess Health System Gina Huhnke, M.D.,
Emergency Medicine, Deaconess Hospital
Robert Kenneth Spear M.D.
Vanderburgh County Health Officer Chris Patterson
Executive Director, Vanderburgh County