Hancock Health Supports New Plan Calling for Investing $360 Million in Increased Cigarette Tax Revenue in Hoosier Health

GREENFIELD, IN – Hancock Health has joined hundreds of other Indiana organizations and companies in the Raise It for Health campaign in support of a new plan to raise the state’s cigarette tax by $2 per-pack in the next state budget. The plan proposes to dedicate all of the increased revenue—$360 million in the first year alone—to urgent health causes facing Hoosier families and employers, including drug addiction, tobacco use and infant mortality. The campaign noted: “Investing in Hoosier health must be an essential component of Indiana’s next budget. Raising the cigarette tax by $2 per-pack is a common sense way to address our high rate of smoking and raise revenue that can tackle drug addiction, infant mortality and help employers maintain a healthy workforce. If we can be a Top 10 state for business, we can be Top 10 for health, too.”  Indiana currently ranks 38th in overall health and 49th in per-capita public health spending.

When Steve Long, President and CEO of Hancock Health was asked why Hancock Health is taking such a strong stand on this issue, he answered, “Because Hoosier health is suffering by so many measures, and tobacco use is a leading cause. Nicotine addiction, especially in cigarettes, is one of the strongest and most deadly addictions affecting people in our communities today. Cigarette smoking remains the number one preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. Many years ago, Hancock Health was the first hospital campus in Indiana to prohibit smoking, so we have been a leader in this area for quite some time.”

Hancock Health and the Hancock County Tobacco Free Coalition will be leading an effort to pick up cigarette butts around Hancock County as part of the Great American Smokeout®.  The event scheduled for today was postponed due to inclement weather and school cancellations. These cigarette butts gathered in Hancock County represent the huge burden that tobacco places on our health and our economy. But awareness is not enough. We are focused on solutions. And as an official partner of Tobacco Free Indiana’s “Raise it for Health” campaign, we are supporting their proposal to our Indiana State Legislature to raise Indiana’s cigarette tax by $2 per pack and put that money to work on programs tackling the serious health issues that our state and therefore Hancock County faces.

For more information on how Hancock Health can help community members with tobacco cessation efforts, please consider our FREE tobacco cessation resources available to Hancock County. Visit Hancock Health’s website at www.hancockregionalhospital.org/wellness-education/classes and visit the “Smoking Cessation” link and call the Indiana Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit www.quitnowindiana.com

 

Media Contact:

Brandee Bastin |317.468.4162

bbastin@hancockregional.org

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