Cigarette Tax

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The Indiana Chamber of Commerce expressed frustration that the state Senate is not creating a high enough tax on vaping devices or increasing the cigarette tax. The Senate’s proposed budget rolls back what the House approved earlier this session.

Justin Hicks / IPB News

Gov. Eric Holcomb issues a veto threat. Senate Republicans drop a cigarette tax hike. And local health officials would be blocked from issuing stricter orders than the state.

Raise It For Health Rallies At Statehouse

Feb 19, 2019
Hoosier teens rallied in support of raising Indiana's cigarette tax. (Jill Sheridan/IPB News)
Lauren Chapman

  

People from around Indiana met at the Statehouse Tuesday to push lawmakers to raise the cigarette tax. The rally focused on the health benefits of such a measure. 

Health and business leaders called on the legislature Tuesday to support House Bill 1380 at a rally.

The bill would increase the age for buying cigarettes to 21 and add a $1.50 tax per pack of cigarettes.

Indiana Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Brinegar spoke at the Raise It For Health rally. He says the state’s smoking habit costs employers three weeks a year in lost productivity for smoke breaks and nearly $3 billion in health care expenses.

Monique French speaks at a rally to raise the tobacco tax in Indiana.
(Jill Sheridan/IPB News)

In the last few hours of the legislative session, as lawmakers work out the final details of the budget, the proposed cigarette tax increase faces its last chance to pass.

Rally Pushes For Tobacco Tax Increase

Apr 5, 2017

A rally to raise Indiana’s per-pack cigarette tax was held at the Statehouse Wednesday.

The House budget included a $1-per-pack cigarette tax increase, to help cover a funding shift to pay for roads. The Senate got rid of that road funding shift and eliminated the tax hike.

Health advocacy groups gathered at the statehouse to urge lawmakers to treat the cigarette tax as a funding issue and a health issue.

Director of tobacco control and advocacy with the American Lung Association, Monique French, says raising the tax is a win-win.

Holcomb Gets Specific In Road Funding Debate

Mar 31, 2017

Governor Eric Holcomb says he doesn’t support shifting sales tax on gasoline dollars to help pay for roads.

The House Republican proposal shifted all sales tax on gasoline dollars to pay for roads. That’s about $300 million a year. Senate Republicans eliminated that shift. Holcomb agrees, saying he doesn’t prefer to move those dollars.

Deep divisions between the House and Senate are emerging over how to make road funding and the state budget work together.

Last week, House Republicans changed their road funding plan, House Bill 1002, to immediately shift all sales tax on gasoline to pay for roads. That opens up a $600 million hole in the General Fund.

 

The House Public Health Committee approved legislation this week to raise the cigarette tax by a $1.50, up to nearly $2.50 a pack. It also increases the legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21. Proponents say the bill will help address the state’s high smoking rate – a quarter of Hoosiers smoke. Some opponents say the tax hike will hurt convenience stores because Indiana would lose its competitive price advantage over other states.

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Lindsay Fox/Flickr

Indiana has one of the nation’s highest smoking rates, but a bill working its way through the legislature aims to change that, in part by raising the cigarette tax by $1.50. The bill cleared the House Committee on Public Health Wednesday.

Nancy Cripe, the coordinator for Tobacco Free Allen County, spent the day before the committee vote at the statehouse to convince lawmakers to vote for the bill, as part of Raise It For Health’s advocacy day. It was easy work.

“Everyone I’ve talked to has been supportive of raising the tobacco tax,” she says. “So I’m excited about that.”

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Denis Defreyne/Flickr

The state legislature will consider a law to curb Indiana’s smoking rate, which is one of the highest in the nation. The proposed bill would raise the cigarette tax by $1.50 per pack, among other measures.