Illinois governor signs bill to raise smoking age to 21

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) on Sunday signed legislation increasing the state’s smoking age to 21, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The law, which takes effect July 1, will reportedly apply to cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.

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With Pritzker’s signature, Illinois becomes the eighth state to increase the minimum smoking age to 21, following California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Virginia, according to the Tribune.

Chicago increased its smoking age to 21 in 2016, leading to a 36 percent drop in cigarette and e-cigarette use among 18- to 20-year-olds, the newspaper noted.

"Today is a milestone day for the health of our communities and especially our young people,” Pritzker said in a statement, noting that the law makes Illinois the first state in the Midwest to raise the smoking age. “For Illinois, it will reduce costs for our state, it will make our schools and communities healthier places to learn and live, and — most importantly — it will save lives.”

 

 

The Illinois legislature last year approved a bill raising the smoking age, according to the Tribune, which added that then-Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) later vetoed the legislation.

The bill Pritzker signed eliminates penalties for underage possession but retains fines and penalties for businesses that sell tobacco products to underage customers, the newspaper noted.