Hoosiers that smoke could be taking a hit to their wallet

A new proposed bill in Indiana would charge a $2 tax increase on each pack of cigarettes purchased. That increase is on top of the near $1 tax already in place. Those in favor of the bill said it would decrease the number of smokers statewide. On the other hand, smokers said it’s not fair non-smokers get a say in how much they pay at the register.

Posted: Jan. 22, 2019 6:24 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Hoosiers could be seeing a tax increase in the near future, but this time it's going to hit the wallets of smokers.

The proposed bill would add a $2 tax increase to the price of each pack of cigarettes.

This bill has been proposed before, but it wasn't passed.

Now, lawmakers and anti-smoking groups are pushing yet again for the raise.

Those in favor said it could help decrease the number of Hoosiers that smoke statewide.

For people that do smoke, they said it's not fair these tax increases always seem to target smokers.

Amber Stumpp is the manager of Smoker Friendly in Terre Haute.

She's been smoking cigarettes for the last 15 years.

Now, the new proposed tax increase on cigarettes could affect her and her store.

"I do not feel like it should actually always come down to the smoker's paying the extra taxes. It's a choice that we make, and it's always the non-smokers who are deciding that it should be done," said Stumpp.

Many people believe non-smokers should have a say on the tax increase.

Libby Ray is the Tobacco Prevention Coordinator in Vigo County.

She said this increase could help everyone in the long run.

"The cost of one pack of cigarettes is around six dollars, but the health care costs and so forth that go along with that down the road add up quickly and it is all paying for that ultimately," said Ray.

Ray said it's not just about the money, but potentially helping save someone’s life.

"Raising the cost of smoking can be a contributing factor to helping someone successfully try to quit," said Ray.

For Stumpp and many others, raising the price isn't enough to keep them from smoking.

Stumpp said she thinks there could be other things to raise taxes on without pinpointing a certain group like smokers.

"The increase shouldn't be towards cigarettes all the time. It seems to be especially a lot more lately this increases always come to cigarettes," said Stumpp.

A new poll done by the Indiana Chamber shows many Hoosiers support the increase.

Out of the 600 people surveyed, 62 percent of Hoosiers said they want to see the two dollar increase.

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