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Gov. Rauner Vetoes Tobacco 21, Fails Illinois Youth

(August 24, 2018) -

For more information please contact:

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

Today, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed bill SB2332, a bill to raise the legal sales age of tobacco products to 21. The law, known as Tobacco 21, was expected to decrease the rate of tobacco use among teens by 25 percent and save an estimated 223,000 lives over time.

Earlier this year, Tobacco 21 passed the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives before being vetoed by Rauner.

“Today, Governor Rauner failed the children of Illinois. 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. Vetoing Tobacco 21 leaves our teens vulnerable to the disease and death associated with nicotine and tobacco use,” said Kathy Drea, vice president of advocacy for the American Lung Association in Illinois. “Ninety-five percent of smokers started before the age of 21 and one in five high school students use tobacco. Passing Tobacco 21 would not only protect our children, reduce smoking rates and save lives, but also save each Illinois family nearly $1,000 a year over time in state and federal tax burdens associated with tobacco-related healthcare costs.”

Currently, Tobacco 21 laws cover more than 4.5 million people living in 26 municipalities in Illinois. Some of the largest cities in the state have passed the law, including Chicago, Aurora, Evanston and Naperville. Additionally, six U.S. states have passed Tobacco 21; California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Oregon.

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