A group of 12 contiguous U.S. states in the Midwest and South has the highest rate of adult tobacco use in the nation. If taken as a country, this group would rank among those with the highest smoking rates in the world.
This is according to a report released by Truth Initiative last week. Indiana is one of these twelve states, along with neighboring Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri.
Indiana has one of the nation’s highest smoking rates, but a bill working its way through the legislature aims to change that, in part by raising the cigarette tax by $1.50. The bill cleared the House Committee on Public Health Wednesday.
Nancy Cripe, the coordinator for Tobacco Free Allen County, spent the day before the committee vote at the statehouse to convince lawmakers to vote for the bill, as part of Raise It For Health’s advocacy day. It was easy work.
“Everyone I’ve talked to has been supportive of raising the tobacco tax,” she says. “So I’m excited about that.”
There’s widespread agreement among legislative leaders and the Holcomb administration that workforce development will be a principal focus of the 2018 legislative session. And that falls in line with the state Chamber of Commerce priorities outlined Monday.