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In an effort to balance his budget proposal, Gov. J.B. Pritzker is proposing a tax hike on cigarettes and a new tax on e-cigarettes.

The freshman Democratic governor took aim at a host of sin taxes to balance his $39 billion spending plan.

One of those would be the first state tax on e-cigarettes.

Chicago, Cook County and some other states already tax e-cigarettes. Pritzker’s administration is proposing a 36 percent tax on the wholesale price, which would be the same rate as other tobacco products.

He estimates the tax would result in $10 million that would not go to the state’s General Revenue Fund, but instead to the Healthcare Provider Relief Fund.

Supporters of e-cigarettes as smoking alternatives said Pritzker’s proposed tax would create another hurdle for those who are trying to quit smoking.

“Studies have shown that vaping products are among the most useful tools to help adult smokers quit traditional cigarettes,” said Victoria Vasconcellos, president of the Smoke Free Alternatives Coalition of Illinois. “It seems unethical to tax a person for making better, healthier choices.”

Pritzker's budget would also raise $55 million from increasing the tax on cigarettes by 32 cents per pack.

Staff Writer

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois government and statewide issues for Illinois News Network and Watchdog.org. He has produced radio shows for stations in Bloomington/Normal and Peoria, and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.