Health advocates join President Cullerton in supporting increase to tobacco tax

jjc 050719Health advocates from across the state joined Senate President John Cullerton in Springfield to announce support for an increase in the state tax on tobacco products.

“It’s rare that you can sponsor legislation and know that it will save lives. That’s exactly what this will do,” President Cullerton said. “It will stop children from starting to smoke and cause many adult smokers to quit, sparing them from a lifetime of addiction and associated health problems. That’s why the public supports it.”

President Cullerton’s proposal would raise Illinois’ cigarette tax by $1 per pack and raise taxes on other tobacco products – including cigars and smokeless tobacco – to 64 percent of the wholesale price.

Increasing the cigarette tax by $1 per pack to a total of $2.98 per pack would make Illinois 10th among all states and D.C. in the amount of state taxes on cigarettes.

Increasing the state tax on tobacco products is expected to prevent nearly 29,000 Illinois minors under the age of 18 from beginning to smoke, as well as assist more than 48,000 current adult smokers in dropping the habit.

Attending advocates expressed gratitude and enthusiasm for the new legislation. They included Dr. Douglas Carlson of the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; Shana Crews, Illinois government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network; Kathy Drea, vice president of advocacy for the American Lung Association; Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health; Tom Hughes, executive director for the Illinois Public Health Association; Matt Maloney, director of health policy for Respiratory Health Association; Julie Mirostaw, government relations director for the American Heart Association; and A.J. Wilhelmi, president and CEO of the Illinois Health and Hospital Association.

 “Investing this tax revenue into the state’s tobacco prevention and cessation programs is crucial to preventing kids from starting to use tobacco and helping people already addicted to quit,” the group said in a statement. “We’re thankful for President Cullerton’s leadership on this issue and look forward to helping it become law.”

Sen. President Cullerton

6th Senate District
President of the Senate

Years served: 1979 - 1991 (House); 1991 - 2020 (Senate)

Committee assignments: Committee of the Whole; Executive.

Biography: Attorney; born Oct. 28, 1948, in Chicago; B.A., political science, Loyola University; J.D., Loyola University Law School; served in Illinois National Guard, 1970-76; former Assistant Public Defender and instructor at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy; married (wife, Pamela), has five children.

Associated Representatives:
Sara Feigenholtz
Ann M. Williams