tobacco 21WESTERN SPRINGS – Illinois will join other states in raising the smoking age to 21 after the governor signed legislation supported by State Senator Suzy Glowiak on Sunday.

Glowiak (D-Western Springs) advocated for the passage of “Tobacco 21” (House Bill 345), which raises the legal smoking age from 18 to 21, prohibiting the purchase of alternative nicotine products, electronic cigarettes and tobacco products by individuals under the age of 21.

“The health risks of smoking are well known, but young adults still have access to tobacco products,” Glowiak said. “This new law will help stop this dangerous addiction at an early age. It is absolutely imperative that we take every necessary step to help save lives.”

Glowiak cited studies that found 90 percent of all adult smokers started when they were kids.

In Illinois, 34 jurisdictions have raised the age, including Chicago, Highland Park, Buffalo Grove, Evanston and Peoria.

A key benefit to raising the age is documented decreases in the number of high schoolers who smoke. In Chicago, authorities recorded a drop from 13.6 percent in 2011 to 6 percent in 2017. Raising the age was cited as a key component of the decrease.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services it is estimated that each day approximately 2,100 youth and young adults who are occasional smokers become daily smokers.

“Stopping the cycle of addiction will protect our young adults from the numerous early and long-term negative effects of smoking such as early health disease, reductions in lung function, and growth and respiratory problems,” Glowiak said. “Raising the age is a proven method to reduce smoking rates among our teens who can be easily addicted to the negative effects of nicotine and are susceptible to beginning a deadly lifelong dependency.”

This measure was supported by the DuPage County Health Department, American Lung Association in Illinois, American Cancer Society and American Heart Association along with many others.

On Sunday, Illinois become the first Midwest state to adopt Tobacco 21, joining states such as California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Oregon, Hawaii and Maine. The new law goes into effect July 1, 2019.

Category: Press Releases

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