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Will Chicagoland's $1 cig tax increase lead to Windy City smoking cessation?



Don’t hold your breath, anti-smoking crusaders.

As of March 1st, cigarette sales in Cook County, Illinois, include an extra $1 per pack in taxes. Supposedly, the county coffers are expected to draw in an extra $25.6 million annually from the increase.

Gasp!

I admit it. I don’t smoke.

OK, as a teen, I may have once anted up 40 cents on a dare for a pack of smokes with a bunch  of classmates. I may have plunked the coins into a cigarette vending machine in a dark entryway to a truck stop restaurant on a junior high school field trip to the State Capitol. (Yes, it was a long time ago.)

But I never inhaled. (Bet you’ve heard that before.)

Cigarette costs don’t affect me directly, but they could impact plenty of folks we know and love. Today, a pack of cigarettes may cost $7 to $10 or more, depending upon tobacco brand, purchasing location, and applicable taxes.

Groups like Tobacco-Free Kids have expressed their hopes that the new Cook County cigarette tax increase would deter youngsters from starting to smoke. Others hope existing tobacco lovers will simply stop smoking.

We all know smoking is dangerous and unhealthy. Maybe this will be the last straw, at least in Chicagoland, and cause a few would-be smokers to see the light.

Still, smokers can be a determined lot.

Will smokers quit or pay the extra tax?

Gee, for $7 to $10, a smoker could skip the pack of cigs and pick up something healthier, like a fast-food cheeseburger and fries or a couple of drive-through tacos.

No, wait. I meant fresh fruit and vegetables. (Sure, I did.)

Perhaps the issue is clouded by geography.

After all, smokers may choose to travel to neighboring counties or across state lines to buy their smokes a bit cheaper. They might order them online. If they do, Cook County tobacco taxes (and retail revenues from cigarette sales) may go up in a puff of … well, you know.

Related Items:
  • Info 101: Sticking It to Cigarettes – by Carol Josel. I lit my first cigarette at the age of six, and, of course, quickly tossed it red-hot into a trash can. It never occurred to me that that I could have burned down an entire Brooklyn apartment building. Unfortunately, though, my fascination with cigarettes didn’t end there.
  • U.S. Surgeon General Says 1st and 2nd-hand Tobacco Smoke Causes Immediate Damage – by Linda Ann Nickerson. 1st- and 2nd-hand tobacco smoke causes immediate harm, according to a December 9th U.S. Surgeon General report. This is the 30th Surgeon General report to warn about the health dangers of tobacco.
  • Study Finds Cigarette Addiction Related to Wiring in Brain – by Teresa Tanoos. A new study reports that addiction to cigarettes and other drugs may result from abnormal wiring in the brain. According to researchers in the study, two areas in the brain work together to turn cravings for cigarettes and other drugs on or off, depending on the drug’s availability.
  • How Smoking Negatively Affects Your Skin – by Rena Sherwood. Smoking has been linked to psoriasis, premature wrinkles, acne and skin cancers. It's no secret that smoking tobacco products cause a variety of potentially deadly health problems for vital organs such as the lungs and heart. But did you know that smoking is bad for the largest organ in your body -- your skin? Take a look.

Image/s:
Smoker by Intuitives 
Stock.Xchng Photos

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