Illinois Tobacco Quitline closes amid grant suspensions

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Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ The Illinois Tobacco Quitline has been put on hold as a result of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s decision to suspend $26 million in social service grants.

The State Journal-Register reports more than two dozen people who work for the free state program have been laid off. Calls to the hotline are now answered with a recorded message saying it will be closed until further notice. Its website displays a similar message.

Rauner has proposed restoring funding for the program at a reduced rate, but not until the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.

The suspension in funding for Quitline and other programs comes as Illinois faces a $1.6 billion shortfall in the current budget.

The Quitline took more than 90,000 calls in the most recent fiscal year that ended June 30.
Information from: The State Journal-Register