Tax hike prompts rush for smokes

Just before Illinois raised the state’s cigarette tax by $1-per-pack, cigarettes customers in Southland rushed to buy ample quantity of tobacco products, and some tobacco shops had to limit customers in the quantity of cigarette packs that could be bought.

Beginning with June 24, the tax on a pack of tobacco product increased from 98 cents to $1.98, with the rise being approved by health advocates as helping to decline state smoking rates. Owners of tobacco shops affirm that cigarette price increase makes some smokers quit the habit, but other smoking people just go to the nearby state to get their fix.

Cigarette Pack

Opened pack of cigarettes

Mike Hazin, Oak Lawn Tobacco Island’s owners, said that smokers drive to Indiana, where gas is cheaper, cigarettes are cheaper and even food is cheaper adding that Illinois lawmakers intend to run all the income out of the state.

The whole tax on a pack of tobacco product with the increase in Chicago would rise to $5.67, while it would be $4.99 in suburban Cook County.

Gov. Pat Quinn persuaded legislators to accept the tax hike to raise earnings and prevent dire cuts in state Medicaid spending.

Tax rate in Indiana is 99.5 cents per pack, but that is without additional taxes added by counties. Local cigarette retail dealers said that, in relation to the brand, prices per carton would be from $30 to almost $40 cheaper in Indiana in comparison with Cook County.

The Oak Lawn tobacco shop’s owner, who wished to be unnamed, said that he really thinks that his sales will “decline essentially” once the increase comes into force.

He said that his customers intend to go to Indiana to buy cigarettes.

In order to help save inventory, Border Tobacco in Tinley Park had to impose limits on what customers could purchase, according to employee Mohamad Ghaddar.

Retail dealers that sell cigarettes had seemingly been trying to buy tobacco products before the tax increase is effect, causing deficit of some popular cigarette brands.

The national group Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids considers that tax increase in Illinois will prevent 72,700 Illinois kids from taking up smoking, and that 53,400 adult smokers who are current smokers will stop smoking because of the higher outlays. The group believes the tax will bring in $350 million in additional income for the state.

Danny McGoldrick, vice president of research for the organization, said that any research organization, looked at this, has made a conclusion that price increase  is one of the most effective methods to decrease tobacco consumption, particularly among young people.

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