Aurora, Peoria To Vote On Raising The Age To Buy Tobacco To 21

Bernie Tafoya
March 23, 2018 - 12:02 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Two more Illinois city councils plan to vote next week on new laws restricting the minimum age for buying tobacco products. 

Illinois law prohibits anyone age 17 and younger from buying or possessing tobacco of any kind, and state lawmakers are considering a proposal to raise the age to 21 statewide. And now, Aurora - Illinois’ second largest city - and Peoria are voting to change the law in their cities.

According to the Respiratory Health Association (RHA), there are 17 communities in the state that have Tobacco 21 laws which restrict the minimum age for purchasing tobacco and vaping products to 21. 

The RHA said Gurnee became the 17th community this past week. Wilmette did it the week before.

The association said that, if communities can get people not to start using tobacco until after the age of 21, far fewer people will take it up, because of the way the brain develops.

"Raising the minimum legal sales age of tobacco products from 18 to 21, or Tobacco 21, is a fast growing, nationally recognized youth tobacco prevention strategy. Almost all smokers begin smoking by age 21. By getting young people past that critical threshold for brain development and addiction, we can dramatically lower the number of people who start smoking and become addicted to smoking. This will lower smoking rates, prevent disease and save long-term health care costs," RHA said in a statement.

Aurora’s vote is Tuesday evening at its regular meeting at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall, 44 E. Downer Place. The Peoria City Council also vote next week.

California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Maine and Oregon have enacted statewide Tobacco 21 laws.