Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  The first blood bank in the world was established at Cook County Hospital by Dr. Bernard Fantus in 1937.
   
     
     
     



Possible Cigarette Tax Hike Has Many Smokers Fuming
Southland Smokers Feeling Singled Out as County Tries to Plug Budget Hole

Monday, December 22, 2003
Daily Southtown
by Courtney Greve

Jim Rick leaned against his car, outside the Cheap Tobacco store in Midlothian, and took a long drag on his cigarette.

What does he think of the proposed 82-cent Cook County cigarette tax hike?

"I think it sucks," said the 62-year-old Crestwood man. "I'll go to Indiana or I'll try to quit."

Rick said he's starting to feel like a social pariah.

Restaurants are cutting back their smoking sections, or banning them altogether. The city of Chicago considered an ordinance to stop smoking in all eateries. And a lot of people complained.

"We get herded outside like cows," Rick said.

Cook County's initiative to raise an additional $41 million per year by boosting per pack cigarette taxes to $1 is the latest in a string of taxing efforts that has hit smokers' wallets and tobacco businesses alike.

Smokers around the Southland said they feel unfairly targeted by a government looking to raise cash, and they resent taking on a larger share of the tax burden.

"You shouldn't penalize a smoker without penalizing everybody," said Lufti Latif, who owns Cheap Tobacco on Cicero Avenue.

"The day the prices go up, I'll have to shut my doors," he said. "Anyone can travel 15 or 20 minutes in any direction and save $15 a carton. Why would they buy in Cook County?"

Some tobacco shops already are learning that lesson.

Cigarette distributors are predicting that at least nine tobacco stores in the Southland will close during the first half of 2004, according to the owner of Hickory Tobacco.

"They keep hammering us," said the Oak Forest businessman, who refused to give his name. "When I opened in 1997, a carton cost $19.99 plus taxes. Now it costs $42.99 plus tax."

Anti-smoking advocates have said raising cigarette taxes reduces smoking, especially among minority youth.

"We're losing the battle against cigarettes, particularly with our own children, and we must do something," said Dr. Quentin Young, former head of medical services at Cook County Hospital and a public health advocate.

Young testified at a county board hearing on the tax hike last week. "Increasing this tax works," he said.

An increase in cigarettes taxes can cut down youth smoking by 10 percent and adult smoking by 4 percent, said Joel Africk, CEO of the American Lung Association of Chicago.Tom Kinman disagreed.

"Kids want to be grown up so they smoke," the 41-year-old Mokena shop manager said. "They will find the money to buy cigarettes if they want to."

Rather than discouraging cigarette consumption, the tax may simply send people across the county line to buy their smokes.

"I've been going to Indiana to buy cigarettes for four years," Venus Killines of Chicago.

In Will County, where cigarettes are noticeably cheaper, a steady stream of people flowed into Tobacco House in Mokena.

Some customers, such as Kelly Cappelletti, said the discount tobacco store is the cheapest around. When she moved to Mokena from Indiana two months ago, Cappelletti said she shopped around for the best price.

"I go out of my way for cheap smokes. I go in, ask for the price, and if I don't like it, I leave," she said.

Cappelletti said it is unfair how smokers have been targeted by lawmakers during budget crises.

"I think they can get away with it because they know if you are a true smoker, you'll buy no matter what," she said.

Syed Hasan lit a Marlboro and pointed out that smokers are a target.

"It's completely unfair, especially since the economy is going down and people are watching their money," he said.

That's why many smokers have turned to the Internet.

"I get customers who say their order didn't come in off the Internet so they need a pack or two," Latif said. "Search 'cheap cigarettes' and see how many online sites you get."

The answer: 598,000.

They have names like Cheap-Cigarettes.com, Esmokes.com and DiscountCigarettes-4U.com. Most are based out of Europe and Canada, but some Native American tribes have joined the lucrative business by selling from tax-exempt reservations.

Cook County's cigarette tax will be decided next month.

Staff writer Jonathan Lipman contributed to this report.

 



Recent Headlines

System News
Friday, May 17, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Health Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Daily Herald

Skokie plans for road improvements near Edens Expressway: 'It’s desperately needed'
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Skokie Review

5 Chicago hospitals earn D grades for patient safety in new report, Northwestern slips to a B
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin: Backward Glances
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Eliminated Its Gang Database, But Advocates Say Harm Continues
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ News

New Cook County Housing Authority Proposal Targets the 'Missing Middle'
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Evanston RoundTable

Census Citizenship Question Could Hurt Citizens, Noncitizens Alike
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

News from Friends of the Forest Preserves
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County commissioners get earful about soon-to-be-destroyed gang database
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Detainee dies days after suicide attempt at Cook County jail
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Curious City How Chicago Women Created The World’s First Juvenile Justice System
Monday, May 13, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County report: Sharp drop in jail population, but crime did not jump
Friday, May 10, 2019
Injustice Watch

Will Cook County be home to the next big measles outbreak? Researchers think so.
Friday, May 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

May is Prime Time for Birding in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

More Babies Are Illegally Abandoned Than Turned Over Through Illinois’ Safe Haven Law In Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
CBS Chicago

Empty businesses may lose county tax incentives
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle

As new DCFS report highlights failures, Cook County guardian says 'inept' child welfare agency is ‘not doing its job ... at every level’
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County passes bill to stop discrimination against tenant applicants
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Crusader

Women Jail Guards Say Sheriff’s Department Tolerated Sexual Harassment By Cook County Inmates
Monday, May 06, 2019
WBEZ Chicago public Radio

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP