Illinois is not doing all it can to reduce tobacco use, according to the American Lung Association. The 11th annual State of Tobacco Control report gives Illinois a grade of A for its Smoke-Free Illinois Act, but the grade is F for funding programs to help people quit smoking. Kathy Drea, head of the Illinois Chapter of the Lung Association, says the state gets $300 million a year from the 15-year-old Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement.
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“Unfortunately, a very small amount of that, about $10 million, is actually spent on tobacco prevention and cessation programs in Illinois. The CDC recommends that it should be closer to $150 million that’s spent each year to help people quit smoking,” she said. Illinois gets a C for its cigarette tax rate, $1.98 a pack. Even though the state raised the tax by $1 in 2011, there are still 13 states that have a tax over $2. The association claims tobacco use causes 16,600 deaths in Illinois annually and costs the state’s economy $8 billion in health care costs and lost productivity.