Indiana Chamber: Smoking rate could hold Indiana's economy back

Posted at 4:41 PM, Jun 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-06 16:41:59-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s economy, currently in good shape, is in danger over the next six years, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce says.

One thing that could hold Indiana back is the health of the state’s citizens, according to the Indiana Vision 2025 Report Card, released Thursday.

Indiana’s smoking rate of 21.8% is the 44th worst in the country, and adult obesity levels are increasing.

Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar pointed to the Indiana legislature’s inaction when it comes to cigarettes, namely raising the taxes on them or increasing the legal age for smoking.

He said smoking costs Indiana businesses $6.2 billion per year in health care costs and lost productivity.

“The negative effects, of course, go well beyond the workplace,” Brinegar adds. “Individual illnesses and premature deaths are tragic outcomes for residents, their families and our communities.”

The Indiana Chamber says the health of its citizens is negatively impacting the state’s ability to compete.

There is good news, however. Indiana ranks in the top 10 in 14 of the 65 metrics identified by the Indiana Chamber.

Check out the full report card here.