Advocates push to raise Indiana's cigarette tax

If you're a smoker, you could soon be paying more to light up in Indiana. That could happen if the advocacy group “Raise it for Health" succeeds in pushing a $2 tax increase on every package of cigarettes. (WTTV/CBS Newspath)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (CBS Newspath/WTTV/WKRC) – If you're a smoker, you could soon be paying more to light up in Indiana. That could happen if the advocacy group “Raise it for Health" succeeds in pushing a $2 tax increase on every package of cigarettes.

Wednesday morning, the health advocacy group unveiled the results of a poll it says shows more than a majority of Indiana voters favor the tax as a way to get people to stop smoking.

According to the group's poll of 600 voters, 70% favored the tax with 29% opposed. The poll was conducted in December.

The group says fewer people smoking means less money the state has to spend on smoking-related illness and health issues. But the same group has pushed for similar legislation each of the past four years and has not succeeded.

“This is an evidence based solution,” said Raise it for Health Chairman Brian Hannon. “We’re not just promoting a cigarette tax to promote a cigarette tax; we know it drives down smoking rates, we know it keeps kids away from tobacco, and we know it raises significant new revenue that we can dedicate to other urgent public health programs."

Opponents worry any new tax is a tough sell for voters—even ones who don’t smoke.

A bill regarding the proposal is expected to be drafted and introduced during this year's legislative session.

Kentucky's cigarette tax hike took effect in 2018.

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