From: Kylene Jones, Tobacco Awareness Coordinator, Healthy Communities
I was pleased to see that the Governor’s Public Health Commission – a task force formed by Gov. Eric Holcomb last year – recently released some recommendations to improve the state’s poor health. The report has identified several areas that need attention from policymakers, including providing significant new funding for local health departments.
I hope our area lawmakers will give the report close attention because Indiana’s health has been neglected for too long. In fact, I think the 2023 legislative session should have a heavy focus on health.
The cornerstone of better health is reducing our unacceptably high smoking rate. With one of the highest smoking rates in the country and thousands of kids becoming newly addicted cigarette smokers each year, it warrants action.
Significantly raising the cigarette tax would not only help people quit smoking, but it would also produce new revenue that could be directed to public health. It is a solution upon which we could truly build better health in Indiana, and I hope it will get done in 2023.