(UNDATED) - The Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency will merge with the State Department of Health one month from now.
Some critics of the integration believe it will cause anti-smoking programming to fall victim to lobbyists from tobacco companies and other special interest groups.
Karla Sneegas, Executive Director of ITPC, says the agency will function as a separate division within the health department.
Community and minority-based programs, including the Indiana Tobacco Quitline, the Quit Now Indiana Initiative and the Voice Youth Program, will continue through the state.
Funding for tobacco cessation efforts in the new budget bill is set at $8.1 million per year.
About 23% of Indiana adults are smokers.
10% of Hoosier's high-schoolers light up. Each year, 10,000 deaths in Indiana are attributed to health issues directly related to tobacco use and second-hand smoke.
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