Taxes on cigarettes are rising yet again in Chicago with a 50 cent increase that makes smokes in the Windy City the most highly taxed in the country.

Chicago’s City Council overwhelmingly approved the cigarette tax hike as part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2014 budget on Tuesday.

In combination with state and local taxes, the city tax increase pushes the total taxes on cigarettes sold in the city to $7.17 a pack, WGN reports. Chicago’s per pack cigarette tax will be 31 cents higher than New York City s $6.86 per pack making them the priciest cigarettes tax wise in the nation.

According to Emanuel’s budget, the 50 cent tax increase is expected to bring in $7 million for the city, the Tribune reports.

Though the tax increase is relatively hefty, it actually marks a rare concession from Mayor Emanuel. The mayor originally proposed at 75 cent increase to the objection of city councilmen concerned it would be met with increased illegal sales of loose cigarettes in their wards.

The $3 million shortfall left by the lower tax increase will be filled by increasing the fine for parking in front a fire hydrant from $100 to $150 and tapping other revenue streams at the city’s two airports.

Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) said regardless of the mayor’s decision to budge on the taxes, the high rate is likely to push smokers to purchase packs outside the city.

We still create the black market when we raise that bar at any level, Ervin told the Sun Times.

Health officials, meanwhile, were dismayed that the tax on cigarettes wasn’t higher.

The cheaper the cigarettes, the more people who are going to buy cigarettes and the more people who are going to die, the American Heart Association s Mark Peysakhovich told the Sun Times the day before the City Council vote.

The city, however, is still cracking down on smoking in other ways Emanuel and a few key aldermen are reportedly looking to heavily restrict e cigarette use in the city with rules that would effectively ban them from public spaces.

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  • You’ll Be Less Anxious

    Even though smokers may believe taking a long drag on a cigarette can help to calm nerves, a British study published earlier this year suggests that quitting can actually decrease anxiety more over the long term. “People who achieve abstinence experience a marked reduction in anxiety whereas those who fail to quit experience a modest increase in the long term,” researchers wrote in the British Journal of Psychiatry study, as reported by CBC News. Similarly, a 2010 study in the journal Addiction showed that perceived stress decreased for people who quit smoking for a year after hospitalization for heart disease, Reuters reported.

  • Your Mouth Will Thank You

    Quitting the habit could dramatically decrease your risk of dental problems like cavities and gum disease, and even more dangerous conditions like oral cancer, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HealthDay reported that compared with former smokers, smokers have a 1.5 times higher risk of developing at least three oral health conditions.

  • Your Sex Life Will Be Better

    Here’s a bedroom related reason to quit smoking studies have suggested a link between smoking and decreased sex drives for both men and women. Studies published in 2008 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that nicotine can affect even nonsmoking men’s and women’s sexual arousal. And if that’s not enough to convince you, well, there’s also this.

  • You’ll Save Your Skin

    If you want your skin to be at its best, then you’re better off quitting cigarettes. WebMD points out that smoking affects skin tone, promotes sagginess and, of course, causes those wrinkles around the lip area. However, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery notes that just a month and a half after quitting smoking, your skin will already begin to look better.

  • You’ll Have More Locks

    If you love your hair, maybe it’s time to put the cigarettes down. Research has linked smoking with an increased risk of male pattern baldness. BBC News reported in 2007 on a Archives of Dermatology study, showing even after taking into account other hair loss risk factors like age and race, heavy smoking (at least 20 cigarettes daily) raised the risk of baldness. And a 2011 study showed that smoking, stress, drinking and genes were all risk factors for baldness, WebMD reported.

  • Your Mood Will Improve

    Here’s a pretty good benefit Stopping smoking could make you a happier person, according to research from Brown University. Researchers there found that smokers were never happier than when they were quitting smoking, even if they went back to smoking afterward. According to a news release The most illustrative and somewhat tragic subjects were the ones who only quit temporarily. Their moods were clearly brightest at the checkups when they were abstinent. After going back to smoking, their mood darkened, in some cases to higher levels of sadness than before.

  • You’ll Have More Birthdays

    Stopping smoking may help women live a decade longer than they would have if they had continued lighting up, according to a 2012 study in The Lancet. Researchers also found that the more the women smoked, the higher their risk of premature death, with even “light” smokers (those who smoked just one to nine cigarettes a day) having a doubled risk of death compared with non smokers. “If women smoke like men, they die like men but, whether they are men or women, smokers who stop before reaching middle age will on average gain about an extra ten years of life,” study researcher Professor Sir Richard Peto, of the University of Oxford, said in a statement.

  • You’ll Improve Your Pregnancy Chances

    If you’re trying to conceive, one of the best things you can do is to quit smoking, research shows. NBC News reported that women smokers have a 60 percent higher chance of being infertile, compared with nonsmokers. Smoking is also linked to more spontaneous miscarriages, according to NBC News.

  • You’ll Enjoy Food More

    If you don’t like bland food, then don’t smoke, research suggests. A small 2009 study of Greek soldiers shows an association between smoking and “fewer and flatter” taste buds, according to a statement on the research.

  • Your Colds Won’t Be As Bad

    Mild cold symptoms could take on a more serious form for smokers, according to a study from Yale University researchers. The findings, published in 2008 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, showed an overreaction of the immune systems of cigarette smoke exposed mice when exposed to a virus similar to the flu. “The anti viral responses in the cigarette smoke exposed mice were not only not defective, but were hyperactive,” study researcher Dr. Jack A. Elias, M.D., said in a statement. “These findings suggest that smokers do not get in trouble because they can’t clear or fight off the virus they get in trouble because they overreact to it.”

  • Quitting Smoking And Money Saving

    Eletta Hansen explains some facts about smoking, and discusses how much money will you save if you quit smoking

Regulate e-cigarettes like tobacco products, 40 attorneys general urge fda – cbs news

Parliament adopts new eu tobacco rules

BOSTONA majority of state attorneys general are banding together to ask the federal government to start regulating e cigarettes, which currently may get into kids’ hands under current rules.

Forty attorneys general sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday urging the agency to meet its own deadline and regulate electronic cigarettes in the same way it regulates tobacco products.

The new letter states e cigarettes are being marketed to children through cartoon like advertising characters and by offering fruit and candy flavors, much like cigarettes were once marketed to hook new smokers.

14 Photos E cigs surge in popularity

The battery powered devices give users a vapor filled experience with nicotine and other additives

At the same time, e cigarettes are becoming more affordable and more widely available as the use of regular cigarettes declineas they become more expensive and less socially acceptable.

Last year, about 18 percent of U.S. adults said they were tobacco smokers, down from 19 percent in 2011.

The FDA does not have regulatory powers over e cigarettes unless the products claim to offer therapeutic benefits, such as for help quitting smoking. The agency’s Center for Tobacco Products arm at this time only regulates cigarettes, cigarette and roll your own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco.

Without regulation, e cigarettes can be sold to minors in states that don’t restrict sales, critics point out.

“Unlike traditional tobacco products, there are no federal age restrictions that would prevent children from obtaining e cigarettes, nor are there any advertising restrictions,” DeWine wrote.

Electronic cigarettes are metal or plastic battery powered devices resembling traditional cigarettes that heat a liquid nicotine solution, creating vapor that users inhale. Users get nicotine without the chemicals, tar or odor of regular cigarettes.

E cigarettes are being advertised during prime time television hours at a time when many children are watching, according to the letter, which has led a surge in sales and use.

The health effects of e cigarettes have not been adequately studied and the ingredients are not regulated, the letter said.

“People, especially kids, are being led to believe that e cigarettes are a safe alternative, but they are highly addictive and can deliver strong doses of nicotine,” Coakley said.

Play Video Health E cigarette use among youths surges

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new report that shows the number of middle and high school students that have tried e c…

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier in Sept. released a new report on e cigarette use among kids, which found 1.8 million middle and high school students said they had tried e cigarettesin 2012. About 4.7 percent of students said they tried an e cigarette in 2011, but that number jumped to 10 percent by 2012 an increase CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden called “deeply troubling” earlier this month.

The youth increases mirrored upticks in adults thee CDC previously reported.

The letter urges the FDA to meet an Oct. 31 deadline to issue proposed regulations that will address the advertising, ingredients and sale to minors of e cigarettes. The decision has been delayed in the past, though the FDA has announced intentions to tighten regulation of the products.

Tom Kiklas, co founder and chief financial officer of the industry group, the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, agrees that e cigarettes should be regulated as tobacco products. The group represents dozens of companies involved in the manufacture and sales of e cigarettes.

Play Video CBS Evening News Concern over more teens smoking e cigarettes

The CDC says the percentage of high school students who smoked e cigarettes more than doubled in just one year. Because they’re not FDA regulated…

“We’re in agreement with responsible restrictions on the marketing and sales of these products,” including a ban on marketing aimed at children, he said. “What I cringe at is when e cigarettes get demonized.”

The other states and territories joining the letter to the FDA, according to Coakley’s office, are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Washington, and Wyoming.