American Cancer Society hoping for Hoosier $2 increase in cig tax

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("Cigarette box" by geralt, CC0 Creative Commons)

Lobbyists with the American Cancer Society and other health organizations are pushing hard this year for your lawmakers in Indianapolis to pass a two-dollar increase in the state’s cigarette tax.

The state’s cigarette tax is an issue discussed in nearly every legislative session in recent years. The last time the state successfully passed a cigarette tax increase was in 2007 when they passed a 44 cent increase, making the cigarette tax the current rate it is today at 99 cents per pack.

Bryan Hannon, government relations director for the American Cancer Society, told Indy Politics that Indiana’s smoking rates are alarmingly high and something needs to be done to curb that trend.

“Indiana has high smoking rates which lead to a number of other health conditions, whether that be higher cancer rates, heart disease, infant mortality,” he said. “We need to start tackling our high tobacco use rates and the best way to do that is to raise the price of tobacco products via an excise tax on cigarettes.”

One of the main arguments against raising the cigarette tax, especially by a whopping $2.00, has been that the state may see lower revenues despite the increase because it would force fewer people to buy cigarettes.

“We have decades of evidence when anytime a state has raised their cigarette tax, they have always produced new revenues,” Hannon responded. “Unfortunately, they (Indiana lawmakers) only did it by 44 cents in 2007, but even then we saw a 40-percent increase in revenue in that first year.”

Hannon said though revenues would gradually decline from cigarette taxes over time, the state would still bring in around $350 million in the first year of a $2.00 tax increase.

Hannon said the state is still bringing in more revenue from the 44-cent tax this year than it did in 2007. He said a $2.00 increase would likely force roughly 40,000 Hoosier tobacco users in Indiana to “kick their addiction.”

Hannon hopes that a good portion of the revenue from a cigarette tax increase if passed goes back into public health initiatives.

“There’s a reason we are 48th in the nation in public health funding,” Hannon said. “That’s because we’ve ignored it for too many years. We failed to adequately fund programs for too many years.”

If a $2.00 increase to the cigarette tax is successfully passed, it would increase the tax per pack of smokes to $2.99. That is on top of the federal cigarette tax rate of $1.01 per pack and the state’s sales tax of 7-percent.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Sin taxes are abhorrent. Taxation should raise revenue, not control behavior.

    The American Cancer Society should stick to their calling, and not interfere with the lives of people who want nothing to do with them.

    PS. I am a vehement nonsmoker.

  2. Who do these people think they are? King of Indiana and all whom enter? Didn’t we have a revolution because of ridicuous partisen taxes being levied on people by an over reaching, greedy, self serving ruler? I’ll bet these people are obese so lets do a “fat tax per pound on overweight people. Better yet, lets tax people based on their I.Q. After all it would be in their best interest and our greedy government would surely spend the tax revenue on improving their subjects. I guess the first problem would be anyone in government wouldn’t be able to afford the taxes based on I.Q. with out giving themselves a giant raise or doing what they always do and excluding themselves from their own ridiculous rules. Wake up and smell the mini “SWAMP” in Indiana!!! They are trying to be like their heros on the left in Congress.

  3. If you really thought you could control behavior through taxation why stop at $2 a pack, why not $20 a pack, and raise some real revenue! If you really want to stop people from smoking, as you say you do, make cigarettes illegal. That worked great during Prohibition and in the War on Illegal drugs, right? Nanny State busy bodies.

  4. John G. There is a super majority of Republicans in Indiana, House, Senate, Governor, mayors, etc. Democrats would be just as bad but think before you post. In general your statement would be valid. I’m a Republican/Libertarian by the way, but absolute power corrupts absolutely, and Gov. Gomer Barney Holcomb is a perfect case in point. I hope the legislature trims his tail feathers. By the way, watch and make sure these weasels aren’t infringing on our Second Amendment right. There is a good bill that would remove the need for an Indiana resident with no criminal record not needing a gun permit. A watched pot doesn’t boil over. Keep your powder dry Patriots.

    • Holcomb yes is a problem, but democrats are the largest, look how they’re constantly wasting our tax dollars going after Trump. Pelosi is a cancer, along with Schiff, Nadler, Schumer, Feinstein, Waters to name a few.

  5. Take your fight to the primaries. If cleaning house means electing democRats then no thanks. They will just go hide in another state so they don’t have to debate or get any work done.

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