Cook County, IL, Delivers Win for Health by Increasing Cigarette Tax

November 12, 2012


It’s been a great year in the fight against tobacco in Illinois.  Earlier this year, the state increased its cigarette tax by $1 per pack.  Now Cook County commissioners have taken another critical step by increasing the county’s cigarette tax by $1, effective March 1, 2013.

Counting federal, state and local taxes, Cook County will have one of the highest cigarette taxes in the nation at $5.99 per pack.   With a city tax included, Chicago will have the nation’s second highest cigarette tax at $6.67, just behind $6.86 in New York City.

Higher tobacco taxes are truly a win-win-win solution — a health win that reduces tobacco use and saves lives, a financial win that raises revenue and reduces tobacco-related health care costs, and a political win that polls show is popular with voters.

The evidence is clear that increasing the cigarette tax is one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking, especially among kids.

Cook County can expect the $1 cigarette tax increase to:

  • Prevent 18,400 kids from becoming smokers
  • Spur 16,100 adult smokers to quit
  • Save 10,300 county residents from smoking-caused deaths
  • Save more than $640 million in long-term health care costs
  • Raise about $25.6 million a year in new revenue

States and communities across the nation should follow Cook County’s lead in significantly increasing the tobacco tax to reduce tobacco use and its devastating health and financial toll.