Indiana’s current smoking rate remains stubbornly at 22%1 and is one of the highest in the nation exacting a significant toll on our economy. Tobacco use costs Indiana $7.6 billion annually in health care costs, loss productivity and premature loss of life – $2.2 billion which is attributed to the consequences of secondhand smoke.2 If Indiana wants to be a state that works then we need to help our fellow Hoosiers quit this harmful addiction.
Our 3-Part Plan
1. Raise the Price on Cigarettes
Indiana’s current 99.5 cent per pack tax is lower than all of our surrounding states.3 Increasing the price per pack by an additional $2 is the single most effective method for decreasing Indiana’s stubbornly high smoking rate – especially in those under 18 years of age. Changes in behavior would occur in key demographics:
- An increase in the real price of cigarettes would reduce the number of kids who start smoking and become adult smokers by 39,000 individuals.4 The long-term health savings associated with fewer youths ever becoming adult smokers with long-term chronic health conditions results in billions of dollars of savings.5
- Likewise, the health care cost savings from fewer smoking-affected pregnancies and births produces over $32M in savings over a five-year period.6 Real cost savings of $13M are also realized for the State of Indiana under the Medicaid program over a five-year period.7
- Seventy percent (70%) of Hoosier African-Americans smokers reported a quit attempt in the last twelve months which is significantly higher than other demographics.8
An increase of $2 per pack would generate annual revenues of $345M which could be used for
targeted investments in public health.9
2. Institute a Tax on E-cigarettes
Twenty (20%) of all high school students and more than 5% of middle school students currently vape.10 A 2018 Indiana State Department of Health survey found that in the past six years, e-cigarette use soared by 387% among high school students and almost as much among middle school students.11 Indiana ranks third in e-cigarette usage prevalence.12 To protect our youth Indiana needs to better regulate the use and price of e-cigarette or vaping products. The Alliance is calling for the legislature to implement a tax comparable to that of traditional cigarette/tobacco products on all e-cigarette and vaping products including delivery devices.
3. Increase and Better Target Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Funding
5 out of 10 smokers tried to quit at least once in the past year. Yet Indiana only spent 10% of the CDC recommended annual investment for tobacco cessation and control programs in 2019. We are asking policymakers to restore Indiana’s funding for prevention and cessation and tobacco control programs to 2001 levels – a $35 million commitment, which will put us in the top 10 states for prevention and cessation and tobacco control programs in the nation.
Alliance for a Healthier Indiana Victories
1. Raise the Age
The Alliance was instrumental in the Indiana General Assembly raising the age of purchase for all nicotine products during the 2020 legislative session.
2. Tougher Penalties on Retailers
The Alliance supported tougher enforcement actions against retailers who fail to or blatantly disregard identification laws surrounding the purchase of nicotine products. The 2020 legislative session passed meaningful and updated financial penalties on retailers who do not act in good faith.
3. Partner with Family and Social Service
Provide greater access to tobacco cessation counseling to pregnant women. See information about Infant Mortality about these initiatives.
2Berman, M. et.al (2014) Estimating the Cost of a smoking employee
3Orzechowski & Walker, Tax Burden on Tobacco, 2018; media reports; state revenue department websites
82008 Indiana Adult Tobacco Survey; 2004-2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
102018 Indiana Youth Tobacco Survey along with 2017 data from the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System of e-cigarette users in all 50 states
112018 Indiana Youth Tobacco Survey along with 2017 data from the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System of e-cigarette users in all 50 states
122018 Indiana Youth Tobacco Survey along with 2017 data from the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System of e-cigarette users in all 50 states