Hoosiers For A Healthier Indiana Launches

New Coalition Calls For End To Cheap Tobacco Products

INDIANAPOLIS – A broad coalition of leading national and statewide health organizations joined together today to call for an end to cheap tobacco products that make it easy for young people to use and become addicted to tobacco. Hoosiers for a Healthier Indiana (HHI) is advocating for a $1 increase on the price of all tobacco products in Indiana with revenues directed to funding tobacco prevention and cessation programs, as well as other critical state health programs. 

In Indiana, 13.7 percent of youth smoke and 11.8 percent of high school males use smokeless tobacco. Both of those rates are higher than the national average.

“Indiana ranks near the bottom of all states in numerous health categories,” said Steve McCaffrey, co-chair of HHI. “We can improve the health and productivity of Hoosiers with strong tobacco control policies and proper funding for health initiatives. Now is the time to act on this serious health risk.”

According to HHI, a $1 increase in the price of cigarettes would:

  • Reduce youth smoking by 13.3 percent.
  • Prevent premature, tobacco-caused death in 32,500 Hoosier smokers.
  • Save $2.08 billion in long-term health-care costs.
  • Generate $244 million in new revenue to fund state health programs.

Tobacco pricing is most effectively regulated via tax policy. Indiana’s $0.995-per-pack cigarette tax ranks 32nd in the country - far below the national average of $1.54 per pack – and hasn’t been increased since 2007.

“Cheap tobacco products don’t benefit any community,” McCaffrey said. “Raising the price of these products by just $1 can have a significant impact on thousands of Hoosier lives. Higher prices would deter many youth from starting to use tobacco and incentivize adults to quit. And the increased revenue to the state could be used for proven and necessary health programs.”

Each year, Indiana spends nearly $3 billion on tobacco-related health-care costs – $487 million of which comes directly from taxpayers through the state Medicaid program. Currently, the state invests $5.8 million annually on tobacco prevention efforts – less than 8 percent of what the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends and only 1 percent of the approximately $565 million in revenue that Indiana will collect this year from the 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes.

For more information, follow HHI on Twitter (@Healthier_IN) and Facebook (HoosiersForAHealthierIndiana).

HHI is a coalition of 30 major health organizations throughout Indiana. Partners include the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association in Indiana, Aspire Indiana, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Cardiovascular and Diabetes Coalition of Indiana, Covering Kids and Families, Elkhart County Tobacco Coalition, Hancock Regional Hospital – Hancock County Tobacco Free Coalition, Healthy Clinton County Coalition, Healthy Communities of LaPorte County, Hoosier Uplands, Indiana Academy of Family Physicians, Indiana Academy of Pediatrics, Indiana Black Expo, Indiana Cancer Consortium, Indiana Joint Asthma Coalition, Indiana Latino Institute, Indiana Public Health Association, Indiana State Medical Association, Mental Health America of Indiana, Minority Health Coalition of Marion County, Minority Health Coalition of St. Joseph County, Purdue University Center for Cancer Research, Reid Hospital, Smoke Free Indianapolis, Tobacco Free Allen County, Tobacco Free Wabash Coalition, Top 10 by 2025 Coalition, Vigo County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Coalition and YMCA of Central Indiana.