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House Votes to Raise Tobacco Purchasing Age to 21

(May 30, 2018) -

For more information please contact:

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

Today, the Illinois House of Representatives passed SB2332, known as Tobacco 21, which is one step closer to making Illinois the sixth state in the nation to raise the purchasing age of tobacco products to 21. The law will now go to Governor Bruce Rauner’s desk for a final signature. The bill is sponsored by Illinois State Senator Julie Morrison and the Chief House Sponsor is Representative Camille Y. Lilly.

The American Lung Association in Illinois applauds state legislators for putting the residents’ health first.

“Today is a monumental day for the future health of our state. Just like the Smoke Free Illinois Act that was passed 10 years ago, this law was controversial, yet puts our state on the forefront of innovative healthcare policy. We hope that Tobacco 21 becomes the norm not just in Illinois, but across the nation,” said Kathy Drea, vice president of advocacy for the Lung Association. “While smoking is on the decline in Illinois, teen tobacco use is at an alarming 32.8 percent. Because of heavy adverting, easy access, concealable products, and fruit and candy flavors, teen tobacco use is a rising concern. The new Tobacco 21 law will help change this.”

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

  • Two thirds of Illinoisans support Tobacco 21 according to a statewide phone survey conducted in January.
  • Tobacco 21 will save millions in healthcare, as tobacco related illness costs $5.49 billion in Illinois annually and costs Illinois Medicaid $1.9 billion every year.
  • In fact, smoking costs every Illinois household $922 per year in state and federal tax burdens.
  • Experts predict that Tobacco 21 will result in a 25 percent drop in teen tobacco use.
  • In Evanston, the first city that passed Tobacco 21 in Illinois, the high school tobacco use rate decreased more than 37 percent after raising the minimum purchasing age to 21.

Five other U.S. states have passed ordinances raising the tobacco purchasing age from 18 to 21; they include California, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey and Oregon.


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:

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