Indiana’s Faith Leaders Call For Legislature To Approve Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Funding, Statewide Comprehensive Smoke-Free Workplace Law

In State News on January 25, 2011 at 12:29 pm
Yesterday in Indianapolis, leaders of Indiana’s major faiths and denominations called upon the members of the Indiana General Assembly to commit to reducing the serious burden tobacco smoke takes on both the primary user and also those who are exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke. Leaders from a diverse array of faith denominations issued this call to action at Christ Church Cathedral on Monument Circle in Indianapolis at an event hosted by the Hoosier Faith and Health Coalition.
Reverend Dan Gangler of the United Methodist Church said, “The clear and present danger caused to Hoosiers by tobacco products, plus the costs to the state incurred because of disease and death caused by tobacco products and secondhand smoke demand that our state’s policymakers show true commitment to addressing the toll of tobacco by providing meaningful funding to Indiana Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Agency and by adopting a comprehensive smokefree workplace law.
“Hoosier Faith & Health Coalition members are proud to partner with ITPC in its community- based campaign to reduce tobacco use. Our faith leaders and health leaders in communities across Indiana have a great resource in ITPC’s state office staff and the community partners across the state. Hoosiers need the experienced, dedicated staff of ITPC and the independent, expert guidance provided by ITPC’s Executive Board in order to continue the decade of progress Indiana has witnessed in reducing youth and adult smoking rates and consumption,” Gangler said.
Research shows that reducing tobacco use is one of the most effective ways to protect our state’s health and prevent deadly and costly diseases such as cancer and heart attacks by preventing kids from starting and helping adults quit.
The Hoosier Faith and Health Coalition event celebrated 10 years of service to Hoosiers by the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency. During this last decade of service, ITPC has led Hoosiers to major successes in tobacco prevention, such as:
  • Successfully reducing adult smoking to an historic low of 23.1%. Consequently today there are 208,000 fewer smokers in Indiana than there were just 10 years ago;
  • Reducing annual per capita cigarette consumption of Hoosiers by 40%; and 
  • Reducing the high school smoking rate by 42%, resulting in 49,000 fewer youth smokers.
In spite of this success, there still is a tremendous amount yet to do to help Hoosiers quit smoking, prevent young people from starting to smoke, eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke and reducing disparities caused by tobacco. At the same time while ITPC has been efficiently and effectively doing its work to combat the significant health and financial toll caused by tobacco and providing Hoosiers with a positive return on their investment by reducing tobacco-related costs for the state, businesses and individuals, the tobacco industry continues to spend hundreds of millions of dollars more than Indiana dedicates to tobacco control efforts. For example, tobacco companies spent $426 million to market their products in Indiana in 2006 alone, according to the most recent Federal Trade Commission report that tracks these expenditures, outspending tobacco prevention funding by a scale of 46 to one.
Kevin O’Flaherty of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said, “We ask the Indiana General Assembly stand up for healthy Hoosiers and against disease, death and $2 billion per year in costs due to smoking and $390 million per year in costs due to secondhand smoke. Investing in ITPC is a smart investment, especially in such hard economic times, because it’s an expenditure that is shown to provide a positive return on investment. We ask Indiana’s leaders to not turn back the clock on our decade of progress but to commit to continue these important programs and the valuable work of ITPC.”

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