Facebook
 
Twitter
Tobacco Program 
   
 
What is Tobacco 21?
Tobacco 21 is the raising of the minimum age of legal access to tobacco products
from 18 to 21.
Why Tobacco 21?
Illinois has an above national average rate of high school smoking, and a near average rate of adult smoking. Given its high population, this means that 230,000 children now under the age of 18 will die prematurely from smoking, with 8,700 children becoming daily smokers each year. The state spends only 4.5% of the CDC recommended amount on tobacco prevention, despite the $5.49 billion in annual health care costs that are directly caused by smoking, and the $5.27 billion in lost productivity. The state has a modest tax per pack, but special consideration needs to be given to the combined state-county-city tax rates in the Chicago area, where the majority of the state’s population resides. The combination of these three rates results in the highest per pack tax in the nation, $6.16. State law contains no preemption language regarding youth access to tobacco, which provides the opportunity for a powerful prevention strategy, including the high tax rate and a tobacco age of 21. 
The Arguments you may hear:
The Military/Age Restriction:

If at 18 we can fight for our country, we should be able to purchase tobacco.
The minimum age of military service does not equal readiness to enlist in a lifetime of smoking. The U.S. Army Surgeon General says soldiers who smoke are less combat ready and take longer to heal. Years of studies, including a comprehensive study on 9.3 million military beneficiaries, have revealed lung cancer mortality rates are double among Veterans. Veterans who served to protect our freedom but contracted emphysema from addiction to the discounted cigarettes in the military have lost their freedom.
Store Owner Concerns:

We will go out of business.
When Needham increased the sales age to 21 in 2005 not a single convenience store went out of business. Restaurant and bar owners had the same fear when smoking was banned, and this did not happen. Tobacco sales to 18-20 year olds are only 2% of retail tobacco sales.CVS and Target have decided to stop selling all tobacco products, leaving more tobacco business for convenience stores.
We make our profits from the ancillary purchases (milk and bread) when people come in to buy cigarettes.
98% of tobacco sales and all associated ancillary purchases will be unaffected. 18-20 year olds will have more money for other in-store purchases that are not tobacco.
They will just go to other towns and we will lose business.
Lower smoking rates are better for business. A city or town that creates fewer smokers will have higher socioeconomic status, better health status, better jobs, and better quality of life for all residents. Research has shown a minimal retail impact of raising the sales age to 21. Each town that goes to 21 increases the likelihood that the surrounding towns will also to go to 21. Small decreases in youth access to retail tobacco are strongly associated with lower tobacco use. The key point is that youth will quit or use less tobacco, and those who don’t smoke are less likely to start.
 

3/15/2017 – Since filing, HB 3208 has had 9 additional co-sponsors sign on
2/22/2017 – HB 3208 assigned to House Consumer Protection Committee
2/9/2017 – Representative Melissa Conyears-Ervin introduces House Bill 3208, the bill would
  raise the age of sales for all tobacco products to 21; referred to House Rules Committee
12/14/2016- Deerfield passes state’s 6th Tobacco 21 ordinance
12/6/2016 – Naperville passes state’s 5th Tobacco 21 ordinance
10/12/2016 – Highland Park passes state’s 4th Tobacco 21 ordinance
8/1/16 – Oak Park passes state’s 3rd Tobacco 21 ordinance
5/29/2016 – Senate Bill 3011 assigned to Health and Human Services Committee
5/18/2016 – Senate Bill 3011 passes Senate by 32-22 vote, on to the Assembly!
4/5/2016 –  Senate Bill 3011 passes Public Health Committee
3/16/2016 – Senate Bill 3011 referred to public health committee
3/16/2016 – Chicago passes state’s second Tobacco 21 ordinance
2/18/2016 – Senate Bill 3011 introduced, which would raise Illinois’s tobacco sales age to 21
1/12/2016 – Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposes raising Chicago’s tobacco age to 21
10/27/2014 – Evanston city council passes the state’s first Tobacco 21 ordinance 

For more information on Tobacco 21, follow the links below:

Tobacco 21 Toolkit
Tobacco 21 Enforcement Memo
Tobacco 21 Presentations
Tobacco 21 Success Stories
Tobacco 21 in Congress

Resources: tobacco21.org
Visit these other helpful pages: