CHICAGO - Another $1 pack cigarette tax hike this week went into effect Friday. What's next, some are asking, a ban on 2-liter soda pop or anything else Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle deems unhealthy?
“By making cigarettes more expensive in Cook County, we are representing the societal cost of smoking,” President Preckwinkle said via mass email. “It is a proven public policy tool that will bring in needed revenue for our public health system, while lowering smoking rates and preventing people from picking up the deadly habit.”
President Preckwinkle cited a study from the New England Journal of Medicine released earlier this year that found smoking shortens life expectancy by at least 10 years and it is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
The $25.6 million in anticipated revenue will go towards the Cook County Health and Hospitals System, which, among other vital services, treats more than 300 lung cancer patients each year.
“We have worked diligently with the support of Cook County to lead the way and help people quit smoking. Our medical staff is well trained and deeply committed to helping patients and employees quit,” said Dr. Ram Raju, CEO, Cook County Health & Hospitals System. “Our health system has helped build specific programming that has increased the numbers of those that have successfully quit. An aggressive anti-smoking policy is good public health practice and makes a lot of sense for Cook County,”
No mention was made of the expected increase of cigarette sales in counties bordering Cook.