Cigarette Tax

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Smokers will light up less after a $0.40 tax increase takes effect in July, saving about 26,000 lives.

Experts say the tax hike also will lead to a decrease in heart attacks, cancer and respiratory diseases.

Illinois' public health director Doctor John Lumpkin says seven percent of Illinois teen-agers, which is about 50,000, will not smoke because of the tax increase.

Earlier this month Governor Ryan signed into law the bill that pushes the state cigarette tax to $0.98 a pack on July 1. Officials say the tax boost would raise $230 million toward plugging the state's budget deficit.

Under the new law, a pack-a-day smoker would pay $358 in state taxes annually, a $146 increase.

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