Reforms Cost Smokers

Part of Medicaid reform is going to cost smokers.

Legislators passed an extra dollar per pack cigarette tax to help plug the $2.7 billion budget hole created by Medicaid. It raised the tax from $0.98 to $1.98.

The new rates will also apply to roll your own cigarettes and small cigars will now be taxed at those rates.

Lawmakers say the hike will help 60,000 people quit the habit, prevent smoking related deaths, and stop kids from starting.

Naperville residents have mixed feelings.

“I think some people are addicted for lack of a better term, and will continue to smoke,” said Joe Spearacino.

“I’m trying to cut back anyways so that would be an incentive,” said Shelly Isenberg.

“I don’t think people will quit because it’s addictive, but it’s unfortunate that the government is taking advantage of them,” said Andrew Mueller.

The tax is expected to generate an extra $350 million for the state, which could be matched by federal funds.

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