cigarette tax

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The Indiana Chamber of Commerce expressed frustration that the state Senate is not creating a high enough tax on vaping devices or increasing the cigarette tax. The Senate’s proposed budget rolls back what the House approved earlier this session.

(Justin Hicks/IPB News)

Senate Republicans won’t include an increase in the state’s cigarette tax in their budget proposal.

(Brandon Smith/IPB News)

A House committee passed a cigarette tax increase. The Senate approved an expansion of telehealth services. And legislation advanced to require nursing homes to allow certain visitors, even during lockdowns.

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A House committee pulled back from a vote Monday on a bill to raise the state cigarette tax by $1 per pack.

That’s because several committee members want the bill to dedicate more of the increased revenue to public health.

Indiana hasn’t raised its cigarette tax in over a decade. And American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Government Relations Director Bryan Hannon said numerous studies show raising the price helps people quit smoking.

“So, people want to quit smoking," Hannon said. "They need some help to do it.”

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Debates Indiana lawmakers have been having for years will once again surface in the 2021 session, including whether to raise the state’s cigarette tax. But that issue may find new life thanks to viewing it through a new lens: the COVID-19 pandemic.