The Washington Times-Herald

Community

June 4, 2014

Time to raise taxes on tobacco

Editor,

On May 31, the global tobacco control and prevention community celebrated World No Tobacco Day, an annual awareness event that draws worldwide attention to the tobacco epidemic and highlights the need for effective policies to reduce tobacco use. This year, we need to do more to stand for our future generations and our health by increasing our tax on tobacco products.

Indiana’s cigarette tax is only 99.5 cents, and three of the four states surrounding Indiana have considerably higher state tax on cigarettes. Research has shown that higher prices are effective in reducing tobacco use among all tobacco users, including lower-income groups and pregnant women, and preventing youth from starting to smoke.

Raising the tax on tobacco products by just 10 percent will decrease youth smoking by about 7 percent and total cigarette consumption by 4 percent, according to Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

According to the World Health Organization, tobacco tax revenues are on average 175 times higher than spending on tobacco control.

If Indiana raised its cigarette tax by $1 per pack, it could prevent some 102,900 Indiana kids alive today from becoming smokers, save 45,600 Hoosiers from smoking-caused deaths, produce more than $2 billion in long-term health care savings, and raise more than $339 million in new revenue each year, according to Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. It could also result in a significant reduction in our rate of smoking during pregnancy, which is a key step toward reducing our high infant mortality rate.

It is time to stand up for our kids and do what is best for them and the future of Indiana.

Sally Petty

Daviess County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Coalition Project Coordinator

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