HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — Experts say Chicago’s move to raise the minimum age to purchase cigarettes to 21 could increase smoke shop sales in northwest Indiana.
Smokers have to be 18 to buy cigarettes in Indiana, where nearly two dozen smoke shops are scattered near the state line with Illinois to capitalize on the comparatively lower Indiana taxes.
The cost of a carton of cigarettes in Indiana can be about half what it costs in Illinois. The (Munster) Times reports many Illinois residents already drive to Indiana to buy cigarettes because of the price difference.
Micah Pollak is an assistant professor of economics at Indiana University Northwest. Pollak says Chicago’s older smoking age will increase tobacco sales in Indiana, largely from Chicago residents who live near Indiana or visit the state regularly.