Indiana Health Advocates: 50-cent Cigarette Tax Increase Inadequate for Health Needs Facing State

Several of Indiana’s health groups are reiterating their call for a $2.00 per pack increase in the cigarette tax this year while rejecting a proposed 50-cent increase contained in the Indiana House of Representatives’ budget bill, House Bill 1001.

“The primary goal of raising Indiana’s cigarette tax is to lower smoking rates and improve the health of our state,” said Nick Torres, advocacy director for the American Lung Association in Indiana. “A 50-cent increase will not boost smoking cessation or provide a pricing barrier to keep kids away from tobacco products, so we can’t support it. We are calling on the Indiana Senate to include a cigarette tax increase of $2.00 per pack.”

The last time Indiana raised the cigarette tax was in 2007. Indiana’s cigarette tax is the lowest in the Midwest and 39th lowest nationally.

“COVID-19 has shown us that there is an urgent need for Indiana to seriously address the high rates of chronic disease in Indiana,” said Danielle Patterson, Indiana government relations director for the American Heart Association. “The proposal to raise the cigarette tax by 50 cents is out of step with the needs of our state, and we are committed to our call for legislators to raise the tax by $2.00 per pack.”

Indiana’s current adult smoking rate (19.2 percent) is roughly a decade behind the national average. The national average adult smoking rate was at 19.0 percent in 2011. 

“Raising tobacco taxes is an evidence-based health policy solution that is proven to lower smoking rates – but only if the increase is significant. That is why we’re calling on the state senate to increase the cigarette tax by $2.00 per pack,” said Bryan Hannon, government affairs director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.“It has been fourteen years since the last increase, and Indiana is falling further and further behind the rest of the country. We simply can’t settle for 50 cents,” 

A $2.00 per pack increase is estimated to generate $345 million of new reliable revenue over the first year of the policy’s enactment.

For more information, contact:

James A. Martinez
(312) 445-2501
[email protected]

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