To improve Hoosier health, let’s discourage smoking
December 10, 2018
Smoking claims a tragic toll on Indiana. More than 11,000 Hoosiers die each year from smoking-related illnesses, while tobacco use results in well over $7 billion annually in health care costs, foregone productivity and loss of life.
As the state’s largest healthcare system, we recognize a calling to improve the health of Indiana by reducing the number of Hoosiers who smoke and dissuading others from starting. That’s why Indiana University Health whole-heartedly joins the statewide campaign against tobacco use, including the critical effort to increase taxes on cigarettes by $2 a pack. Increasing the price of cigarettes is a proven way to deter smoking among youths and adults.
The campaign against smoking will be telling for Indiana’s future. If smoking rates can be reduced, cancer, pulmonary disease, infant mortality and other pressing health issues will claim fewer victims. At the same time, reductions in smoking promise brighter economic prospects for Indiana, which ranks as the 41st worst state in the nation for percentage of smokers in the population.
As the Alliance for a Healthier Indiana puts it: “This shameful position contributes to higher health care spending, challenges for employers who want to provide health insurance, premature deaths, poor work and school attendance, and perpetuation of poverty. Our terrible health measures create a negative image for Indiana, which can make it more difficult to recruit new businesses and professionals looking for a healthy place to live, work and raise a family.”
It's also important to note that discouraging smoking keeps many smokers and potential smokers from indulging in bad lifestyle habits linked to smoking, including excessive use of alcohol and illicit drugs.
IU Health encourages all Hoosiers to back commonsense measures to reduce smoking and strengthen Indiana’s status as a healthy state. While the challenge of reducing Indiana’s smoking rate is great, so is the payoff.
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