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Chicago Aldermen Nix Tougher Cigar Laws

Chicago Aldermen Nix Tougher Cigar Laws

It appears that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposed series of tobacco-related measures, which includes a 90-cent tax hike on premium cigars, has been momentarily stalled after a group of aldermen shot down his plan on Monday.

Chicago City Council's Finance Committee voted against the mayor's stricter tobacco laws during a Monday meeting, arguing that the new rules would encourage black market tobacco sales and be a burden on small retailers.

Emanuel's proposal, which he announced last month, focuses not on cigarettes, but on other tobacco products, a tobacco tax category that includes premium cigars, other cigars, pipe and rolling tobacco, and smokeless tobacco. The proposal calls for a 90-cent tax hike on premium cigars; a 15-cent tax increase on little cigars; a new $6.60-per-ounce tax on roll-your-own tobacco and a tax of $1.80 per ounce on smokeless tobacco. Additionally, Emanuel sought to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 years old.

While the Finance Committee's decision is a setback for the mayor's office, Emanuel said he still plans to pursue stricter tobacco legislation.

"What ! ! something amiss here . . . we want small mom and pop retailers out of business, black market smokes, and more crime." —February 9, 2016 22:09 PM