Tobacco Free Indiana: Improve Public Health and State Budget with $2 Tobacco Tax Increase
Tobacco Free Indiana issued the following statement regarding the release of today's state budget forecast:
INDIANAPOLIS (December 16, 2020) – Raising tobacco taxes is one policy that will help improve Hoosiers’ health and the health of our state budget. It’s proven to lower smoking rates
As state leaders craft our next biennial budget, they should prioritize policies that recognize the severity of the health emergency in Indiana and offer support to communities hit hardest by health disparities. Raising Indiana’s cigarette tax by $2 can improve health and deliver up to $350 million in new revenue next fiscal year.
Indiana’s Medicaid program has seen surging enrollments and growing demand for services. Enormous demands are being placed on local health departments and frontline medical workers. Cuts to crucial health programs will not solve our problems. Instead, our next state budget should recognize the severity of Indiana’s health emergency and offer relief to critical health programs like Medicaid.
When Indiana last raised the cigarette tax, it enabled the creation of the Healthy Indiana Plan to improve the health of Hoosiers. Nearly fourteen years later, as the Healthy Indiana Plan and other Medicaid programs face growing needs, this is the perfect time to raise the cigarette tax by $2 and shore up our state’s public health infrastructure.
Tobacco Free Indiana is calling for a $2 increase in the cigarette tax because it is an evidence-based public health intervention according to the U.S. Surgeon General. But it has never been more apparent that Indiana’s budget needs an infusion of new revenue. Raising tobacco taxes is good policy both in the short-term budget crisis and long term for Hoosier health.