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Illinois has a near average rate of high school smoking, and above average rate of adult smoking. Given its high population, this means that 230,000 children now under the age of 18 will die prematurely from smoking, with 5,700 children becoming daily smokers each year. The state spends only 9% of the CDC recommended amount on tobacco prevention, this is almost a 100% increase from funding in 2016. However, this is still a low level of funding given the $5.49 billion in annual health care costs that are directly caused by smoking, and the $5.27 billion in lost productivity. The state has a modest tax per pack at $1.98, but special consideration needs to be given to the combined state-county-city tax rates in the Chicago area, where the majority of the state’s population resides. The combination of these three rates results in the highest per pack tax in the nation, at $6.16.
There is no preemption language present in state law keeping localities from raising the Minimum Legal Sales Age (MLSA) to 21. Local governments are free to enact ordinances to better protect their kids from addiction. It has been our experience that the most powerful incentive for the state legislature to act is the initiative of local citizens and governmental leaders.
For More Information, Please Contact:
- Timothy A. Sanborn MD, MS, FACC, FAHA
- Pritzker School of Medicine
- Cardiology Division
NorthShore University HealthSystem
Clinical Professor, University of Chicago
- Jodi Radke
- Tobacco Free Kids
- Director, Rocky Mountain / Great Plains Region