New Report Underscores Indiana’s Dangerous Underfunding of Tobacco Control; State Needs to Boost Spending to Improve Health, Economic Competitiveness

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
June 05, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A report issued today by the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation makes clear that Indiana’s tobacco control program is severely underfunded, spending just 11.1 percent of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends (based on fiscal year 2016 spending). It’s not surprising – given this lack of funding – that Indiana has higher than average smoking rates among youth and adults, along with high rates of tobacco-caused diseases such as cancer and heart disease.Meanwhile, the state will collect over half a billion dollars in revenue this year from the 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend just over 1percent of the money on programs to prevent kids using tobacco and help smokers quit.

Indiana’s high smoking rates are hurting the state’s health, costing taxpayers and businesses more in health care costs, and undermining the state’s economic competitiveness. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Indiana and costs the state $2.9 billion a year in health care bills.

The solution is clear: Indiana lawmakers should significantly increase the state cigarette tax and restore funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. By doing so, Indiana leaders can save lives and health care dollars, make the state an even stronger place to do business and help make the next generation tobacco-free. As a proud member of the “Raise It for Health” coalition, we support these efforts wholeheartedly. We thank the Fairbanks Foundation for its leadership in commissioning this report and making the fight against tobacco a priority.