032614cm0035SPRINGFIELD—State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) voted Wednesday to restore state funding that operates the Illinois Tobacco Quitline. The quitline, headquartered in Springfield, was recently closed and more than two dozen people were laid off as the result of recent cuts made by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

“If we can save this program, we can keep people working and help those trying to quit smoking. The impact of closing this program and eliminating these jobs would ripple through the region.” Manar said.

 The proposal, Senate Bill 274 would transfer funding from other areas of the state budget to cover the $26 million reduction that eliminated funding for the quitline and other state services.

“There are hidden costs that we would face if this program was shuttered. It’s a proven fact that more than $2 billion of the state’s Medicaid costs are illnesses directly related to smoking and tobacco use. If we can help people stop smoking we can reduce long-term medical costs and promote improved health—statewide—and save taxpayer funds,” Manar said.

Senate Bill 274 is now pending in the House of Representatives.

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