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Coalition Kicks Off 2019 Legislative Initiative 

By Alliance For A Healthier Indiana on 11/26/2018

Despite slick roads and icy conditions, dozens of Hoosiers hoping to make Indiana a healthier state joined coalition leaders at the Indiana Statehouse Nov. 15 to kick off the 2019 campaign to raise Indiana’s cigarette tax. The #RaiseItforHealth event announced an effort supported by more than 130 organizations to seek a tax increase of $2 per pack.

The tax increase would raise more than $350 million to invest in initiatives that could help improve Indiana’s poor health rankings while also improving the state’s business climate and workforce. Smoking costs the state more than $7.6 billion every year in health care expenses, productivity losses, and premature death. Reducing smoking would also have an immediate and positive effect on almost every health issue Hoosiers suffer from.

Indiana ranks 41st in the nation in tobacco use with a smoking rate of 21 percent. Approximately 1 million Hoosiers smoke every day. At 99.5 cents a pack, Indiana’s cigarette tax is the 14th lowest in the nation and lower than that of every neighboring state.

“If Indiana wants to be a state that works, it can’t afford to be a state that smokes,” said Kevin Brinegar, president and CEO of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, a coalition member. “Tobacco has a devastating effect on Indiana’s workforce and Indiana’s businesses.”

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