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Legislation to Increase Tobacco Sales Age to 21 Moves Forward

(February 5, 2019) -

For more information please contact:

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

Today, the Illinois State Senate Public Health Committee voted to advance Senate Bill 21, 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 State Senate for a vote.

Last year, Illinois legislators passed a Tobacco 21 bill, but unfortunately it was vetoed by former Governor Bruce Rauner. The American Lung Association encourages legislators to again support this law, which is vital to our state’s health.

“The evidence is clear that Tobacco 21 saves lives, so state lawmakers need to push forward to again pass Tobacco 21 this year,” said Kathy Drea from the Lung Association. “With the dramatic rise of you e-cigarette use, mostly because of easily concealable products and fruit and candy flavors, Tobacco 21 is important now more than ever. We urge the Illinois House and Senate to follow the lead of the Public Health Committee and support this legislation, which is proven to protect the most vulnerable parts of our population, our children, reduce state health care costs and ultimately save lives.”

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. In fact, 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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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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