Letter: Invest in health; increase cigarette tax

From: Thomas Talbert


Indiana is at a crossroads. It is now time to continue down that road and invest in the health of Hoosiers by raising the cigarette tax by $1. That has the ability to make an impact on the lives of 39,000 Hoosiers who will quit smoking and 32,400 youth under the age of 18 who will never become addicted smokers.

People who smoke and/or use tobacco products knowingly place themselves at risk. It is only fair and reasonable they be asked to fund the unfunded Medicare tobacco-related illness cost. Choose to take the risk, pay the cost of health care.

The $1 tax will save Indiana $1.4 billion in long-term health care costs over time and generate $239 million in new revenue. The $1 cigarette tax increase is a win-win for the state. Just a $1 increase has the ability to impact every Hoosier in the state in some way, including less missed work due to smoking-related illness for those who decide to quit, increased state revenue and fewer youths starting down the road of addiction.

Our state has the ability for $1 to impact the lives of every Hoosier. The time is now for members of the Indiana General Assembly to make that investment and protect Hoosier health.