Increasing the unit price of tobacco products is one of the most effective strategies to prevent youth tobacco initiation and reduce overall tobacco use.
Research from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids suggests that with every 10% increase in the price of cigarettes, youth smoking rates are reduced by 6.5% and adult smoking rates are reduced by 2%.
Increasing the tobacco unit price can be achieved through both tax and non-tax methods, including minimum pricing and minimum packaging requirements, as well as prohibitions against couponing and price discounting.
Chicago has the second highest combined (city, county, state, and federal) cigarette tax in the country: $7.17 per pack. Although that tax is significant, it is still less than the societal cost of smoking on a per pack basis, as estimated by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Among the states, Illinois is currently ranked 19th highest in cigarette taxes with a current rate of $1.98 per pack.
Tobacco pricing measures help improve public health, while also providing an additional source of revenue to units of government that bear the financial burden of tobacco’s health consequences on their populations.
RHA has been active at the city, county, and state levels advocating for tobacco price increases. To learn more, visit the Tobacco Policy section of our Library or contact Todd Fraley, Health Law & Policy Analyst, via email at [email protected] or by phone at (312) 628-0234.