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DeLaney proposes $2 cigarette tax increase to fight Hoosier health disparities

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Representative Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) today proposed a $2 per pack increase in the state cigarette tax. The amendment to House Bill 1007 would have curbed cigarette smoking by an estimated 21% while providing meaningful investments in public health. The proposal failed in the Indiana House Ways and Means Committee.

Similar state tax proposals, such as House Bill 1434, are moving quickly through the legislative process. DeLaney suggests the majority's proposals do not have the dollar amount or direction needed to make real changes to Indiana's abysmal health statistics. State Representative Julie Olthoff's (R-Crown Point) legislation directs money to a vague general fund, whereas DeLaney emphasizes the importance of investing in specific health categories deemed important by the Indiana State Department of Health.

“Indiana's health problems have only been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic making a $2 cigarette tax increase more timely than ever,” DeLaney said. “This is a common sense solution to a public health problem that has plagued our state for decades. We must do all we can to discourage Hoosiers from picking up this harmful habit and focus on bettering our state’s health.

“My cigarette tax revenues are predicted to amount to more than half a billion dollars per year, which would be intentionally invested in initiatives like the treatment of opioid addiction, reducing diabetes and obesity, mental health services and other measures to improve Hoosier health.”

More than 11,000 Indiana citizens die each year from cigarette smoking, and more than 1,400 non-smokers die from secondhand exposure.

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