Illinois smokers could soon see a huge increase in the cost of a pack of cigarettes. The Illinois House today approved a plan to more than double the tax on cigarettes, to $1.98 a pack. Other tobacco products would see a similar increase.
The tobacco tax hike is part of a plan to raise about $800-million a year for the state Medicaid program. It also creates a tax on hospitals that would be matched by the federal government. The tax hike passed the House 60-52. It goes to the Senate next, where similar proposals have been supported in the past.