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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Smoke break

Thank you for your help, Illinois; we surely do appreciate it:

Illinois lawmakers recently approved a plan to raise taxes on cigarettes by $1-a-pack, more than doubling the state’s previous cigarette tax, which was 98 cents.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed the bill Thursday morning, and the increase on all tobacco products, including roll-your-own cigarettes, chewing tobacco and pipe tobacco, will go into effect June 24.

[. . .]

After the increase goes into effect, Illinois tax will be more than double the average tax per pack in Indiana, which is $.995, according to Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The story didn't include a resulting price-per-pack comparison, which would be helpful in trying to figure out the impact. If the price difference is anywhere from a few cents to around $1, I wouldn't think the economic impact would be great except for Hoosier locales on or near the border. The greater the difference, the more effort Illinois smokers will make to get their tobacco here. All other taxes on cigarettes being eaqual, a pack should cost a dollar more in Illinois. But they're not -- Chicago has its own tax of 68 cents a pack, and Cook County tacks on another $2. Cigarette outlets in northwest Indiana should ecstatic about now.