$1-per-pack tax hike may hurt cigarette sales

Cigarette Tax Hike

A customer at tobacco shop in Libertyville, the owner of which is Mike Patel, was informed about the state’s $1-per-pack increase in the cigarette tax. The cigarette tax hike comes into force on June 24.

The customer asked with a laugh if she can buy a carton of cigarettes before the increase becomes operative.

The new state cigarette tax increase is a tough move for tobacco shop owners and cigarette smokers.

Cigarette Tax Hike

Increase of cigarette tax

Patel, owner of the Tobacco Outlet on Peterson Road in Libertyville, said that the cost of a pack of cigarettes was increased by $1 a pack and now a carton costs $10. He added that not only taxes for cigarettes were increased, but also for cigars and other tobacco products.

Patel said that nowadays many people smoke various tobacco products, but they do not have a lot of money to react to cigarette tax increase with no worry. He added that such cigarette hike will hurt tobacco business.

Recently the Illinois legislature accepted the $1-per-pack increase in the cigarette tax to raise cash resources to support the state’s ailing Medicaid system for health care for low-income people.

In spite of critics, local public health officials approved the cigarette tax increase as they believe this move may help decrease smoking rates in the state.

Kris Andersen, coordinator of the Lake County Health Department’s Tobacco Free Lake County Program, said it is said in the study that rising generation are less to start smoking and adults are more likely to believe giving up smoking when cigarette taxes are increased.

Andersen said that this increase will have a positive effect on the population of Illinois.

“If the price of the cigarette pack is enough to make people stop smoking, that’s a very good thing.”

But local tobacco stores suggest the tax increase will damage businesses in Illinois and smoking people will instead buy tobacco products in other close states, where sales taxes are lower.

Bhavik Patel, owner of Mundelein Tobacco, who sells various tobacco products, thinks that there would be 30 to 40 % reduction in sales because of the state’s cigarette tax increase.

Patel added that many of his customers believe the cigarette tax hike is unjust.

He believes that each time the state needs money they tax cigarettes.

Andersen said she does not believe Illinois’ cigarette taxes do not correspond to many other states. Before the cigarette tax increase, she said Illinois ranked 32 in terms of cigarette taxes. The tax rise would increase the state’s total cigarette tax from 98 cents to $1.98 per pack, which is still below many other states, including neighboring Wisconsin.

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