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City Council Swings At Big Tobacco; Nixes 'Luxury' Tax On Tampons

By aaroncynic in News on Mar 16, 2016 6:21PM

Photo by Scott Olsen/Getty Images
The City Council approved several anti-tobacco measures Wednesday, including an increase in the age to purchase cigarettes, from 18 to 21.

In addition to raising the age to purchase tobacco products, the City Council approved new taxes on chewing tobacco, cigars and roll your own tobacco, as well as a ban on chewing tobacco at stadiums for both fans and players. Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration, which has taken up creating a “tobacco-free generation,” according to the Sun-Times, estimates $6 million a year in revenue from the new taxes. Three other cities—San Francisco, Boston and Los Angeles—have similar bans, and more have legislation in the works.

The Council also approved yet another hike in cab fees. In addition to a 15 percent fare increase which went into effect on Jan. 1 this year, riders will now have to pay another 50 cents if they want to use a credit card.

Taxes on tampons and sanitary napkins however, will be lowered. The Council approved an ordinance proposed by Ald. Edward Burke (14th) and Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) removing a 1.25 percent “luxury tax” the products fell under. "This tax only affects women. Is that fair?" Burke said in a statement when he proposed the ordinance in February. "These are not luxury items, and Chicago needs to lead the way in eliminating this unfair tax."