Business leaders, several health organizations make announcement to raise cigarette tax

Business leaders, several health organizations make announcement to raise cigarette tax. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Business leaders and several health organizations made an announcement on a push to approve bigger taxes for tobacco.

A group rallied at the Statehouse Thursday morning pushing to raise the tobacco tax 2.5 times higher than its current level.

Indiana currently has one of the lowest taxes on cigarettes, and because of this, business leaders and health organizations are calling the rally “Raise it for Health.”

Their goal is to get lawmakers to raise the cigarette tax from 99 cents to $2.49.

A local high school senior spoke at the rally. She said she was first exposed to smoking at 11-years-old with her school friends.

“We need to do more to make sure that kids never stop smoking and to make sure adults have all the help they need. I encourage every one to join this fight and prevent more teens from smoking and to save another 11-year-old from the situation I was in,” Brianna Wilson, Washington High School senior said.

According to the coalition, the tax increase is projected to help 58,000 Hoosiers quit smoking and to keep 49,000 minors from becoming smokers.