Editor, Times-Union:

Indiana lawmakers are back to work at the statehouse and perhaps the most important thing on their agenda is improving Indiana’s public health.

I am grateful to see that proposals to increase funding for local health departments and for behavioral health programs are getting attention. This investment is long overdue and would be a big win for the health of our state.

But lawmakers could deliver an even better deal for Hoosier health by raising the cigarette tax and dedicating that new revenue to health programs. You might call it a win-win.

Raising the cigarette tax by $2 will drive down the state’s high smoking rates, save lives and generate significant new revenue for those needed health investments.

After years of discussion and debate in the statehouse, now is the perfect opportunity to raise the cigarette tax. Let’s hope lawmakers will deliver a win-win for Hoosier health.

Jessica Camarena

Youth & VOICE Coordinator

Breathe Well Kosciusko Coalition, via email