Rauner Vetoes Tobacco 21 Bill


The legal minimum age to purchase tobacco products in Illinois will remain 18.

Commonly referred to as Tobacco 21, Senate Bill 2332 would have raised the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products to 21. That bill was vetoed by Gov. Rauner late last week.

“For decades, Illinois has made great strides in tobacco control, and this law would have been another promising step toward eliminating tobacco’s burden on our communities,” said Shana Crews, Illinois government relations director for the American Cancer Society, in a statement.

Tobacco 21 laws are vital because 95 percent of adult smokers take up the habit before they turn 21, according to the Respiratory Health Association.

“Too many kids are being exposed to tobacco products in their teenage years,” said Joel Africk, president and CEO of the Respiratory Health Association, in a statement. “If we can keep kids away from tobacco until they’re 21, they’re far less likely to become addicted and can live healthier lives.”

Only five states – California, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey and Oregon – have raised the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21.

More than 20 municipalities in Illinois have already raised the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21, including Highland Park, Buffalo Grove, Evanston and Chicago.

Contact Kristen Thometz: @kristenthometz | kthometz@wttw.com | (773) 509-5452

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