Indiana Gets An “F” In Smoking Report Card
By Mike Perleberg
(Undated) – Indiana gets a failing report card when it comes to it’s tobacco smoking prevention and cessation efforts in 2013.
The American Lung Association released its annual “State of Tobacco Control” report this week. In it, Indiana in 2013 earned F’s in two categories: tobacco prevention program funding and cessation coverage. The state received a D for its relatively low tax on cigarettes.
The report also gave Indiana a C for smoke-free air. The grades come despite Indiana enacting a statewide public indoor smoking ban law two years ago.
“Indiana has the unfortunate distinction of failing to make progress in the fight against tobacco use in 2013, and protect its citizens from tobacco-caused diseases like lung cancer, the leading cancer killer of both men and women in Indiana. Meanwhile Big Tobacco continued to rob our health and wealth with clever new tactics to lure new youth smokers,” said Lindsay Grace, manager of advocacy with the American Lung Association in Indiana.
The association urges state and local leaders to put proven policies in place to reduce smoking. Examples include smokefree workplace laws, higher tobacco taxes, and tobacco prevention and quit smoking programs.
A report last year stated Indiana’s cigarette tax of 99.5 cents per pack ranks 32nd in the nation and is below the national average of $1.53 per pack.
That same report claimed Indiana will receive $68.4 million from the 1998 settlement with tobacco companies this year, however, the state will spend just $5.8 million of that on prevention programs. The settlement amount took a $63 million hit from 2013 following an arbitrator’s decision, although the Indiana Attorney General’s office is appealing.
Lindsay said the cost of not improving Indiana’s grades is greater. Tobacco causes an estimated 9,728 deaths in Indiana annually and costs the state’s economy $4.8 billion in healthcare costs and lost productivity.
“Leaders in Indianapolis must step up to provide smokers with the support they need to quit and adequately fund prevention programs that help keep our kids off tobacco,” she said.