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Illinois House Passes Bill to Raise Tobacco Sales Age to 21

(March 12, 2019) - SPRINGFIELD, Ill.

For more information please contact:

Jill Thompson
[email protected]
312-940-7001

Today, the Illinois House of Representatives voted 82-31 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 Illinois State Senate for a vote.

Last year, Illinois legislators passed a Tobacco 21 bill, but unfortunately it was vetoed by former Governor Bruce Rauner. On February 19, the Illinois House of Representatives Health Care Availability and Accessibility Committee passed Tobacco 21.

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

“Research shows that Tobacco 21 laws can make a tremendous impact on the health of our communities as well as reduce healthcare costs from tobacco related diseases,” said Kathy Drea from the Lung Association. “This law is proven to protect children, reduce smoking rates, save on healthcare costs and save lives. In fact, Chicago saw a 36 percent decline in the use of tobacco products among teens after passing Tobacco 21 in 2016.”

The need for Illinois to take action to protect youth from tobacco is more urgent than ever. Nationally, youth e-cigarette use has reached epidemic levels due to a 78 percent increase in high school e-cigarette use from 2017 to 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey. This has caused the U.S. Surgeon General to declare e-cigarette use among young people an epidemic in an Advisory issued in December 2018.

“Thank you to our House Representatives for taking a vital step in improving the health of our citizens, and protecting our youth from the death and disease associated with tobacco use. We encourage the State Senate and Governor J.B. Pritker to also support this important legislation,” Drea added.

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

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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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