Indiana lawmakers continue a years-long debate over anti-smoking measures that include an increase in the smoking age and higher cigarette taxes.
And that debate was not resolved in a study committee this week.
Several high profile health and business organizations have pushed legislation for years to reduce Indiana’s smoking rates. That effort includes the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, and President Kevin Brinegar makes this economic argument – he says smokers cost Hoosier businesses more than $6 billion a year.
“In health care costs, absenteeism, and lower productivity,” Brinegar says.
But convenience stores and cigarette retailers push back. Tim McKinney represents a trade association for tobacco sellers. He says retailers – especially along the borders – benefit greatly from the state’s low cigarette tax.
“Indiana has experienced a positive revenue impact of nearly $60 million,” McKinney says.
Lawmakers will release a report in the coming weeks that could include a recommendation on anti-smoking measures.