The Age to Buy Tobacco is now 21

Effective July 1, 2019, people must now be at least 21-years-old to buy tobacco in Illinois, including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes, and vapes. Governor JB Pritzker signed the initiative, known as Tobacco 21, on April 7, 2019. Illinois was the 7th state in the U.S. (tied with Virginia) to implement raising the tobacco purchasing age from 18 to 21 years. About 4,800 Illinois teens become new daily smokers each year. In 2016, 15.8% of Illinois adults smoked, resulting in an estimated 18,300 deaths each year associated with tobacco use. In 2017, 7.6% of high school students smoked on at least one day in the past 30 days. Tobacco 21 will help keep tobacco out of high schools. Most underage tobacco users rely on social sources like friends and family to get tobacco. Approximately 90% of those who supply cigarettes to minors are themselves, under the age of 21.National data indicate about 95% of adult smokers begin smoking before they turn 21. According to a study from the National Academy of Medicine, Tobacco 21 policies could reduce overall smoking by 12% by the time today’s teenagers become adults. The biggest decrease in tobacco use could be among youth ages 15-17 (25%) and 18-20 (15%). Smoking-related health care costs in the U.S. are estimated at almost $5.5 billion annually, with another $5.3 billion lost due to smoking-related losses in productivity.In addition to prohibiting the sale and sample distribution of tobacco products, e-cigarettes, and alternative nicotine products to individuals under age 21, Smoking at an early age increases the risk of lung cancer. For most smoking-related cancers, the risk rises as the individual continues to smoke. Among young people, the short-term health consequences of smoking include respiratory effects, addiction to nicotine, and the associated risk of using other drugs.

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