Illinois Inches Closer To “Tobacco 21″
The Illinois House passed a measure on Tuesday to hike the tobacco purchasing age to 21 from the current age of 18.
After attempting, but ultimately failing to override former Governor Bruce Rauner's veto of the measure last year, Tobacco 21 was re-introduced in the House and passed by a vote of 82-31.
The bill, cheered by health advocates, would set a minimum age of 21 to buy cigarettes, cigars, snuff and chew, and nicotine-based products such as e-cigarettes and vaping materials . The American Lung Association cites figures showing that 95 percent of long-term smokers begin the addictive habit before turning 21.
Opponents of Tobacco 21 say that since they can vote and serve in the U.S. military, 18 year olds should be able to decide for themselves whether or not to smoke. The bill has also been roundly criticized for lack of penalties for those who break the law.
Some establishments that sell tobacco products say that 18, 19, and 20 year olds will simply cross the border to buy their supplies, costing local businesses money.
The Tobacco 21 bill now moves on to the Senate, and presumably after that it'll be on the way to Governor Pritzker's desk to be signed into law.