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Illinois Becomes Eleventh State in Nation to Increase Tobacco Selling Age to 21

Today, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill 345 into law raising the legal sales age of tobacco products to 21. The American Lung Association praises state lawmakers for passing the law, known as Tobacco 21, which is vital to community health.

“Today is a landmark day for the health of Illinois residents. As the eleventh state to pass Tobacco 21, Illinois is on the leading edge of modern healthcare policy,” said Deborah Brown, chief mission officer of the Lung Association. “Governor Pritzker and the state legislators who supported this law proved that they are truly focused on the health of their constituents. With the youth e-cigarette epidemic, and the rise of easily concealable and fruit and candy flavored tobacco products, Tobacco 21 is important now more than ever. This law protects children, reduces smoking rates, saves on healthcare costs and saves lives. The Lung Association will continue our work in fighting for this law across the nation.”

“Ten years ago, the Smoke Free Illinois Act was controversial and now it is the norm in our state and many states nationwide. We hope that soon Tobacco 21 is the norm across the country,” said Kathy Drea, vice president of advocacy for the Lung Association in Illinois. “While this is a huge win for health in Illinois, there is still work to do to protect our citizens from the death and disease associated with tobacco use.”

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 will go into effect on July 1, 2019. Illinois becomes the eleventh state in the Union to adopt the law, joining Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Utah, Virginia and Washington.

For more information, contact:

Jill Thompson
312-940-7001
Jill.Thompson@Lung.org

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