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State

Cook County cigarette tax increasing by $1 a pack

CHICAGO – Taxes on cigarettes sold in Cook County are going up by one dollar a pack.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle says the tax, which takes effect Friday, is expected to generate more than $25 million annually for the Cook County Health and Hospitals System.

She says higher taxes also will help lower smoking rates, including by discouraging people from starting.

Cook County's Department of Public Health will begin an anti-smoking campaign later this month aimed at youth. It will include television advertising and placards on buses and at bus shelters.

Anti-smoking activists say Chicago is now the second-most expensive place in the nation to buy cigarettes, behind New York City.

Preckwinkle says the county Revenue Department will hire more staff to help stop tobacco smuggling and tax evasion.

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