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SPRINGFIELD – Legislation increasing the age to legally purchase tobacco to 21 was signed into law on Sunday by Gov. JB Pritzker at a signing ceremony at Mile Square Health Center in Chicago. State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) sponsored the legislation and was in attendance of the signing.

“Today represents the culmination of years of dedication and hard work from health advocates and lawmakers who were relentless in their fight to protect teen health,” Morrison said. “Raising the age has been proven to reduce smoking rates among young teenagers who are susceptible to the impact of nicotine on the brain and have a strong chance of beginning a lifelong deadly habit.”

The new law, which passed under House Bill 345, adds Illinois to a growing list of states that have already implemented Tobacco 21. Nine states – Arkansas, California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Oregon, Hawaii, Maine, Utah and Virginia – have all raised the age to purchase tobacco to 21.

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In Illinois, 34 jurisdictions have raised the age, including Chicago, Highland Park, Buffalo Grove, Evanston and Peoria.

A key benefit to raising the age is documented decreases in the number of high schoolers who smoke. In Chicago, authorities recorded a drop from 13.6 percent in 2011 to 6 percent in 2017. Raising the age was cited as a key component of the decrease.

Morrison teamed with health advocates and local Lake County students last January to increase support among lawmakers for the proposal. After passing the Senate in April, the measure passed the House in May but was vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner in August.

“Tobacco 21 will reduce access in our young populations, bring down overall smoking rates over time and save the state millions in health care costs,” Morrison said.

House Bill 345 was signed on Sunday by Gov. Pritzker. The new law takes effect on July 1, 2019.

Read more:

Illinois is the latest state to raise the age for tobacco purchases (CNN)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs bill raising smoking age to 21 statewide (Chicago Tribune)

Category: Latest News

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