A new poll shows about 70 percent of Hoosier voters support an increased cigarette tax.
Smoking rates in Indiana ticked up slightly in 2018, to 21.8 percent. But out of 600 Hoosiers polled last month, 7 in 10 say they support a $2 cigarette tax increase.
Bryan Hannon is with the American Cancer Society. He also chairs Tobacco Free Indiana’s Raise it for Health campaign. He says public opinion on a tax increase remains consistent from the previous years.
"Voters don’t see this as just a traditional tax increase," says Hannon. "They see it as a user fee and they’re not going to punish lawmakers, in fact they want lawmakers to take action."
More than three-fourths of respondents says it’s important revenue be spent on tobacco prevention. A majority of voters from both parties says they support lawmakers who prioritize public health funding.
Hannon says Indiana lost ground in its national smoking rate ranking last year.
"And we don’t have a whole lot more ground to lose, we’re already in the 40’s, a few more spots and we’re going to be dead last," says Hannon.
The last time Indiana increased its cigarette tax was in 2007.