Legislature Missed Opportunity to Protect Hoosier Kids
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is beyond disappointed that the legislature prioritized Big Tobacco’s profits over the health of Hoosiers.
Statement from American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Government Relations Director Allie Kast
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – “The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is beyond disappointed that the legislature prioritized Big Tobacco’s profits over the health of Hoosiers. The budget passed by the legislature yesterday does not include a tobacco tax increase or adequate funding for tobacco control. Furthermore, the legislature imposed a tax cap on cigars.
“ACS CAN has been advocating for a $2 per pack cigarette tax increase with a parallel tax on all other tobacco products and an increase in funding to $15 million annually for tobacco prevention and cessation programs to ease the burden of cancer for Hoosiers.
“Increasing tobacco taxes is one of the most effective ways to reduce tobacco use, especially among kids, and tobacco companies know it. Lowering the tax on cigars, and, therefore, the price of tobacco products, is one significant way for the tobacco industry to protect their bottom line, addict people with cheap products and keep them addicted. Unfortunately, the legislature chose Big Tobacco over Hoosier kids and lowered the tax on cigars. At a time when tobacco use is skyrocketing among youth, Indiana should not be lowering the tax on any tobacco product, including cigars, which are the second most commonly used tobacco product among youth. Indiana can and must do better.
“A $2 per pack cigarette tax increase would have prevented 24,500 kids from becoming adults who smoke, helped 50,200 adults who smoke quit and saved 19,900 lives. Beyond the health benefits, increasing the cigarette tax would have benefited the economy, generating $371.71 million in new annual revenue for the state while saving $1.57 billion in long-term health care costs.
“A well-funded, fact-based tobacco control program is needed to counteract the $308 million per year that tobacco companies spend to market their deadly and addictive products in Indiana. As Big Tobacco has been working hard to addict future generations with e-cigarettes and other tobacco products, the need for tobacco prevention program funding has never been greater.
“ACS CAN calls on the legislature to prioritize Hoosier kids over Big Tobacco and work in the interim and future sessions to significantly increase tobacco taxes and further invest in tobacco control to reduce health care costs, protect kids, and save lives.”
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy change that improves the lives of people with cancer and their families. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and advanced proven tobacco control measures. We’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. Join the fight by visiting www.fightcancer.org.