Indiana gets two ‘F’ grades in new tobacco report

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The Lung Association released its State of Tobacco Control 2013 report Wednesday, and concluded that Indiana fails to protect citizens from tobacco-caused disease and death.

Indiana received the following grades for 2012:

  • Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Funding – F
  • Smoke-free Air – C
  • Cigarette Tax – D
  • Cessation Coverage – F

The 11th annual report reveals that preventable deaths are becoming more common, as the state has much less money than the deep-pocketed tobacco industry to spend on these things.

Tobacco causes an estimated 9,728 deaths in Indiana annually and costs the state’s economy $4,804,232,000 in healthcare costs and lost productivity.

“Indiana has the unfortunate distinction of failing to make progress in the fight against tobacco use in 2012,” said Lindsay Grace, manager of advocacy for the American Lung Association in Indiana. “Meanwhile, Big Tobacco was busy honing clever new tactics to lure new youth smokers.”

According to the 2012 report from the Surgeon General, the 3 million new young smokers in the United States can be blamed on the failure of states across the U.S. to invest in policies and programs to reduce tobacco use.

Indiana is no exception, as the state receives more than $580 million in tobacco-related revenue annually, and invests less than 2 percent of what is recommended on tobacco prevention programs.

The report gives two recommendations to the state for the next year:

  • Increasing funding for Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program
  • Removing the deadly loopholes in Indiana’s smoke free law

“It’s time Indiana removes Big Tobacco’s welcome mat,” said Grace. “Leaders in Indianapolis must provide smokers with the support they need to quit and adequately fund programs that help keep our kids off tobacco.”

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