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Cook County Commissioners Vote to Raise Selling Age of Tobacco Products to 21

(January 24, 2019) -

For more information please contact:

James Martinez
[email protected]
(312) 445-2501

Today, the Cook County Board of County Commissioners voted to pass an ordinance to raise the selling age of tobacco products to 21, a law nicknamed Tobacco 21. The law will go into effect on June 1, 2019.

Currently, Tobacco 21 laws cover more than 4.5 million people living in 34 municipalities in Illinois. When this law goes into effect, more than 5.2 million will be covered. Some of the largest cities in the state have passed the law, including Chicago, Aurora, Evanston and Naperville.

“Thank you to the Cook County officials for passing a law that will truly make a difference in the health of local residents,” said Kathy Drea, vice president of advocacy for the American Lung Association.  “In suburban Cook County, one in three high school seniors have used tobacco products and 95 percent of smokers report starting before the age of 21. Raising the purchasing age can prevent young people from ever starting and can save teens from the death and disease associated with tobacco use. With the rise of easily concealable and fruit and candy flavored tobacco products, Tobacco 21 is important now more than ever.”

Studies show that there is wide support for and compelling facts to support raising the tobacco purchasing age, including:

  • Tobacco 21 is proven effective, contributing to a 36 percent decline in the use of tobacco products among teens in Chicago—just one year after passing Tobacco 21.
  • Two thirds of Illinoisans support Tobacco 21 according to a statewide phone survey conducted in January.
  • Experts predict that Tobacco 21 will result in a 25 percent drop in teen tobacco use.
  • Six U.S. states have passed ordinances raising the tobacco purchasing age from 18 to 21; they include California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Oregon.

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About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.

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