Tobacco contributes to 11,000 Hoosier deaths each year. Is Indiana doing enough?

The 2023 report proposes that Indiana increase funding for the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Commission and increase taxes on tobacco products by at least $2.  - Bárbara Anguiano/IPB News

The 2023 report proposes that Indiana increase funding for the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Commission and increase taxes on tobacco products by at least $2.

Bárbara Anguiano/IPB News


Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States, contributing to the deaths of 11,000 Hoosiers each year. A new report from the American Lung Association shows Indiana is lagging behind the nation in policy efforts to reduce tobacco use.


The annual State of Tobacco Control Report evaluates state and federal tobacco control efforts. The report assesses five areas that have been shown to prevent tobacco use: funding of state tobacco prevention programs, strength of smoke-free workplace laws, level of state tobacco taxes, coverage and access to tobacco cessation services, and cessation of sales of all flavored tobacco products.


Indiana received a C or below in all five areas.


Indiana received an F in funding and taxes, said Tiffany Nichols, Indiana advocacy director for the American Lung Association.


“We don’t fund our tobacco prevention and cessation program by a long shot [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] recommended level,” said Nichols. “In fact, we only funded about 12.7 percent of the level recommended by the CDC. Our tobacco tax has not increased since 2007. In fact, it’s one of the lowest in the Midwest.”


The CDC recommends that Indiana should spend $73.5 million on tobacco prevention programs. The state currently spends just over $9.3 million on prevention programs. The current cigarette tax in Indiana is $0.995 per pack of 20 cigarettes. The 2023 report suggests Indiana increase funding for the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Commission and Increase tobacco tax by at least $2.


Nichols said she hopes Indiana lawmakers will look at the report and enact tobacco reduction legislation.


“We want the General Assembly to look at these grades and understand that these are real Hoosiers, these are Hoosier lives,” Nichols said. “These aren’t just numbers on paper.”


legislation was introduced at this session to increase the cigarette tax by $1.


Indiana’s adult smoking rate is 17.3 percent, and the high school tobacco use rate is nearly 22.9 percent.


Contact reporter Darian Benson at [email protected]org. Follow on Twitter: @HiImDarian


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