Smoking Hurts
Indiana’s Workforce

$7.6 Billion in annual costs

Our State Needs Healthy Workers
Now and For Our Future

The Problem

Indiana has a $7.6 billion problem—tobacco use. One in five Hoosier adults smoke.I Our tobacco use is higher than surrounding states. Hoosier employers want to help their employees kick their nicotine addiction. We would all benefit. Lower health care costs. Greater productivity. Better quality of life.

We cannot allow poor health to get in the way of growing the Hoosier economy. And we have to protect our youth – our future workforce.

“The cost of Hoosiers’ poor health is to Indiana what real estate costs are to San Francisco and poor infrastructure is to the Northeast. It cancels out many of Indiana’s other benefits.”

– Dave Ricks, Chairman and CEO, Eli Lilly and Company II

The Big Picture

$7.6 billion

The annual health care costs, productivity losses and premature death costs due to Indiana’s high rate of smoking and nicotine addiction, which includes $2.2 billion due to secondhand smoke.


Of the number of Hoosiers tobacco use kills each year, the vast majority are working-age adults. For every tobacco-related death, 30 other Hoosiers are sick from tobacco-related illness.


A pack of cigarettes in Indiana costs on average under $6, but that price does not reflect the true cost of tobacco use. Each pack of cigarettes costs our state $15.90 in extra costs, including health care bills, lost productivity and premature death.

“A healthy workforce increases productivity, reduces health care costs, and makes Fort Wayne more attractive for businesses large and small."

– Proclamation from Mayor Tom Henry of Fort Wayne, June 12, 2018

Hoosier Businesses Incur Costs

Indiana businesses need a healthy workforce to continue to thrive. Healthy workers are productive. Their quality of life is better. Sick workers are chronically absent. They drive up health care premiums.

Smoking also deters investment in our state. Current and future companies want talented, healthy and productive workers.

“Unless you are in the business of selling tobacco products, tobacco products are bad for business in Indiana.”

– Kevin Brinegar, President of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce III


Each smoker costs an Indiana business $6,200 extra each year—or $22 each day—in higher health care costs and lost productivity. IV


The amount of time a smoker spends on smoke breaks from work each year.V

The opioid crisis is linked to tobacco

The economic impact to Indiana from opioid misuse is more than $4 billion annually.VI As the Indiana Business Research Center notes, “Opioid misuse directly attenuates the economy by reducing the number of labor force participants and potential participants.”VII Tobacco use helps to fuel this crisis. Ninety percent of opioid addicts smoke.VIII Nicotine addiction makes treatment less effective, leading to relapse rates six times higher in smokers than in non-smokers.

Key Hoosier Industries Have High Rates of Smoking

The highest rates of smoking are concentrated in professions that represent a critical share of the Indiana economy.

Indiana has the highest employment share in manufacturing of any state in the nation. National data indicates the rate of smoking among the manufacturing workforce is 22.9%.IX These rates are even higher in states with lower cigarette taxes, like Indiana.

Three key Indiana professions (accommodation and food services; administrative and support and waste management and remediation services; manufacturing) collectively employ 32% of the Hoosier workforce.X Each has high rates of smoking.

Male-dominated industries tend to have higher rates of smoking. In 2016, smoking prevalence was significantly higher among Indiana men (23.6%) than women (18.8%). XI

"Half of prime age men who are not in the labor force may have a serious health condition that is a barrier to work." XII - Alan Krueger, Princeton University Economist 

Jasper Engines has one of the most heralded health and wellness profiles among any Indiana manufacturer—from their history of using nurse-practitioners in on-site clinics to quality disease management programs. As an Associate-Owned company, it is no wonder. Yet, despite all their efforts, their tobacco use rate has recently risen significantly.

Linda Goeppner is the company’s Director of Corporate Compliance and Health Care, where she supports over 2,300 staff. She notes tobacco use among recent full-time hires is 25%. Among those aged 21 and under, it is 28%.​ “Here we are with a health crisis and costs going up year after year,” she says. “As an Associate-Owned company, for every dollar we are spending on medical care, including complications from tobacco use, there is less going back to Associate-Owners, their families, and to the economy.”

Our Future Workforce is At-Risk

Cigarette smoking rates have recently declined among Indiana youth, yet 4,100 kids under age 18 become daily smokers each year in Indiana. Nine percent of high school students report smoking in the past month. XIII

Low-income youth and youth of color are prime targets of the estimated nearly $300 million in annual tobacco industry marketing in Indiana.

Maria’s Story

“I worked alongside many youth, including my best friend, and the majority of them would take smoke breaks. The managers would often join them. Tobacco is not an equal opportunity killer. We are part of a larger Big Tobacco vision and we cannot allow ourselves to be manipulated.”

– Maria Duenas, college sophomore and health outreach consultant with the Indiana Latino Institute

Hoosier Incomes Suffer

Hoosier paychecks suffer from tobacco’s burden. Health care premiums are higher. Wages are depressed. In an Indiana economy where tobacco wasn’t used or produced, workers would benefit.

  • Personal income would be $28.7 billion higherXIV
  • After-tax income would be 7% higherXV

Royal’s Story

Royal Jordan (Fort Wayne) had a tobacco addiction that took a costly turn during his prime working years.. In his 40’s, after a career in the military, automotive detailing and other industries, he remembers coughing constantly and “catching a cold at the drop of a hat.” Eventually, his common colds began to turn into debilitating bouts of pneumonia. On one medical visit, he learned that only one-third of his lungs were functioning and he ultimately spent over two years in a wheelchair due to frequent blackouts from exertion.

Raising the Cigarette Tax: Big Impact

Tobacco use has a devastating impact on the Hoosier workforce and Indiana businesses. For every 1% reduction in smoking in the United States, $27.4 billon is saved in future health care costs.XVI

In Indiana, according to the Raise It for Health campaign, a $2.00XVII increase in the state cigarette tax would:

  • Help 70,000 adults quit smoking, creating a healthier Indiana workforce
  • Prevent 58,000 youth from ever starting, creating a healthier future workforce
  • Generate $358 million in new revenue in the first year alone that could be dedicated to helping more adults quit smoking, treat opioid addiction and address other urgent public health issues

Join Us!

Join Raise It for Health today!

Help create a heathier Indiana workforce and stronger economy.