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Illinois House Committee Advances Tobacco 21 Bill

Today, the Illinois House of Representatives Health Care Availability and Accessibility Committee voted to advance House Bill 345, nicknamed Tobacco 21, which would raise the legal sales age of tobacco products to 21 in Illinois. The bill will now go to the full Illinois House of Representatives for a vote.

Last year, Illinois legislators passed a Tobacco 21 bill, but unfortunately it was vetoed by former Governor Bruce Rauner. On February 5, the Illinois State Senate Public Health Committee voted in favor of Senate Bill 21, a matching Tobacco 21 law.

The American Lung Association encourages legislators to again support this law, which is vital to our state’s health.

“Thank you to the members of the Illinois House and Senate health committees for voting in favor of Tobacco 21,” said Kathy Drea from the Lung Association. “The state of Illinois has made significant progress in passing Tobacco 21 laws at a local level, but given the alarming rise in teen e-cigarette use it is now more important than ever to implement this law statewide. This law is proven to protect children, reduce smoking rates, save on healthcare costs and save lives.  We urge the Illinois House and Senate to follow the lead of the Public Health Committees and support this legislation.”

Since nearly 95 percent of adult smokers report trying their first cigarette before the age of 21, raising the legal sales age can prevent young people from ever starting. Tobacco 21 is proven effective in Illinois, contributing to a 36 percent decline in the use of tobacco products among teens in Chicago after passing Tobacco 21.

Currently, six states and more than 34 municipalities in Illinois have already passed Tobacco 21 laws.

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