Health advocates push for cigarette tax increase

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Just a few days remain in the legislative session, and health advocates renewed their push today to raise Indiana’s cigarette tax.

House Republicans want to increase the tax by one dollar per pack to help fill a budget hole, but the Senate has left that increase out.

A new study released today by the Richards M. Fairbanks Foundation shows Hoosier smokers on Medicaid cost taxpayers an additional 540 million dollars a year.

Public health officials say the increase is a proactive approach to reducing one of the country’s worst smoking rates.

“There’s a lot of opposition against implementing a cigarette tax, but what we know is the health message. We know lives will be saved. We know close to 58,000 Hoosiers will quit using this product,” Monique French with Tobacco Free Indiana told CBS4.

Supporters of the tax hike held a rally at the Statehouse today and delivered petitions to Governor Holcomb who has voiced opposition to the tax increase.

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