April 19, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has announced a series of initiatives to address the state’s fiscal and public health concerns. Included in his proposal is a plan to increase the state’s cigarette tax by $1 per pack. Illinois’ current cigarette tax rate of 98 cents per pack ranks Illinois 32nd among all U.S. states. The American Cancer Society supports this proposal.
The American Cancer Society is pleased Gov. Quinn is combining smart fiscal and public health policy. Smoking remains the leading cause of cancer, and this proposal will not only reduce the burden on the state’s Medicaid program for years to come, but more importantly, it will save lives and improve the health of people across Illinois, particularly in curtailing youth smoking.
The facts are staggering, and Illinois can and should do better. If the cigarette tax increase passes, we estimate that more than 70,000 youth will never smoke, and more than 38,000 current Illinois residents will be spared from premature death caused by smoking. Thus, the proposal’s upside potential to reduce the pain and suffering from cancer and other diseases is enormous. From our perspective, the measure offers remarkable promise to create a world with less cancer and more birthdays.
The American Cancer Society and its legion of supporters commend Gov. Quinn and encourage our legislators to adopt this proposal quickly so the lifesaving outcomes can begin.
Amy Jo Steinbruecker
Media Relations Manager (Suburban)
Illinois Division/American Cancer Society, Inc. Oak Brook Terrace
From the May 2-8, 2012, issue