FZINE: a place for high school students and teachers to read, interact, and contrbute. LAUNCH
To all the smokers who have felt stigmatized ever since Chicago’s smoking ban went into effect in January: the city of Chicago wants you to know that it still appreciates your business. Or at least, it should.
Chicago’s cigarette tax increased from 48 to 68 cents on January 1, and by the time this article goes to print, the Cook County tax will have doubled, making the total taxes (including federal and state) for each pack of cigarettes in Chicago $4.05.
Politicians in favor of cigarette taxes and bans usually speak with virtue. “A higher tax will discourage smoking and save lives,” they’d say. But the cigarette tax will make $43 million this year—that’s 34 percent of all the recreation tax revenue (according to Chicago’s budget overview for 2006), double that of the liquor tax and second only to the amusement tax placed on sporting events.
So even though it’s more difficult than ever to light up in public without wandering into traffic (consider the fifteen-feet-from-any-entrance rule), the chain, social and only-when-I’m-drunk smoker is an integral part of the city budget.
In this F Newsmagazine survey, we found that almost a third of SAIC students are doing what’s best for their city’s economy and continuting to smoke in spite of the inconvenient ban. Even more smoke marijuana, albeit less frequently. So if you’re fighting the power or just getting ready to listen to The Dark Side of the Moon, know that Chicago loves you—even it has a funny way of showing it.