Illinois Tries to Raise Cigarette Tax

News from Springfield is that the Illinois senate is trying to pass another increase on cigarette tax, raising the whole tax on one pack to $1.98. This proposal will increase the current tax by $1. It seems that 74 percent of the Illinois population is in favor of the increase. The state Senate approved the bill last April 30-26. It currently lacks enough backing to pass in the House, but is expected to get enough backing to increase soon.

It is not unusually for Illinois to punish smokers in the state. On the first day of 2008 Illinois enacted the Smoke Free Illinois Act. This act decreased many freedoms that smokers in the state had previously had. All public places and places of employment had to prohibit smoking. No one could smoke in government vehicles. In order to light up after this date you must been outside of fifteen feet of an entrance to a business or place of employment. A non-smoking sign must be placed at every entrance, and every ashtray shall be removed.

In fact, I remember on New Year’s Eve of 2007 when the clock turned midnight the bar owners had to go around and remove all ashtrays off the table. The no smoking law has affected many businesses. If you are at any restaurant or a bar you can see a big huddle of people about 15 feet away from the entrance smoking together. Each business that still allows smoking on their property has put ashtrays at the exact spot that the smokers can smoke at. Most bars will announce a ‘smoke break’ in which that music will stop and about 95% of the people in the place will go outside and smoke.

Private residences, expect those used for child care, were exempted from the law. Home-based businesses open to the public will also exempt. Residents of Illinois could still smoke in what was defined as a ‘tobacco shop’. A fine for not obeying this law ranges from $100-$250. An owner of a business that does not adhere to the law can also be fined.

It seems that Illinois is continuing its pledge for free air. The tax and the Smoke Free Illinois Act are both examples of where Illinois is committed to making sure that the air you breathe is the cleanest it can be.