1. Increase the age of sale for all tobacco products to 21;
2. Restore statewide funding for tobacco prevention and cessation efforts; and
3. Continue to work to support smokefree air policies/laws in all workplaces, medical facilities, college campuses, multi-unit housing, parks, playgrounds, festivals, fairs and other outdoor recreational facilities.
The 2016 state legislative session was fraught with overwhelming state budget issues. A lack of a fiscal year 2016 budget hung over the state capitol the entire session as all health and human service programs struggled to survive without payment and many closed their doors forever.
Finally, on June 30th, the very last day of fiscal year 2016, a stop-gap budget for fiscal year 2016 and the first six months of fiscal year 2017 was passed and signed into law. Tobacco control programs at the state and local levels were some of the only programs funded for all of fiscal year 2017.
The Illinois Senate also considered Senate Bill 3011, a bill that would have increased the minimum age of sale for all tobacco products to 21 often referred to as Tobacco 21 legislation. The bill failed to pass the state Senate the first time, but then passed on the second attempt late in the 2016 session. Senate Bill 3011 was revived during veto session in fall 2016, but was not granted a vote in the Illinois House of Representatives. Also in 2016, the cities of Chicago, Deerfield, Evanston, Highland Park, Oak Park and Naperville passed Tobacco 21 laws.
Unfortunately, the 2017 Legislative Session promises to include another state budget battle. We will continue to work with our partners to ensure tobacco control programs are funded and to pass local Tobacco 21 laws and work toward a statewide law. We will continue to defend the Smoke Free Illinois Act from any weakening attempts and create a norm of smokefree workplaces, multi-unit housing and outdoor recreational areas.