ILLINOIS (WCIA) — The minimum age to buy tobacco in Illinois is 18, but it might go up.
The law is one step closer to changing. A bill would raise the minimum age to buy tobacco to 21. Tuesday night, the vote failed in the House, but the next day, representatives voted for a second time and it passed. Now they just need Governor Bruce Rauner’s signature to make it happen.
The American Lung Association in Illinois is praising state lawmakers for putting people’s health first in this decision. They say they hope this becomes the norm across the nation.
But this possible new law has caused quite a bit of controversy and there are people who aren’t fans of it.
19-year old Derricka Moore says, “It’s not fair to the people who are younger. People who are younger look forward to being 18 and buying Black & Mild or finally buy cigarettes. People start smoking at a younger age.”
The Lung Association says smoking is on the decline in Illinois but teen tobacco use is at almost 33%. They predict this bill will result in a 25% drop in teen tobacco use.
In addition to raising the minimum purchasing age for tobacco products, the bill also affects electronic cigarettes and alternative nicotine products.
If Rauner signs it, Illinois will become just the sixth state in the country to raise the tobacco purchasing age. California, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey and Oregon already have the minimum age of 21.