Putting the Smoke Out

Alivia Dillman

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In Springfield, Ill.- Illinois legislators are reviving bills about raising the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21. Lawmakers are hoping that Governor J.B. Pritzker will look at all the issues. More than 30 Illinois communities have already enacted Tobacco 21 ordinances. “I think that the more local communities that take actions will indicate to legislators that this is something communities will want,” said Democratic Sen. Julie Morrison sponsored the Senate bill with Sen. Michael Hastings.

The governor believes in order to help build a healthy society, they have to work to prevent young adults and kids from smoking. Limiting the access of children getting a hold of tobacco products will likely help prevent them from getting a number of tobacco-related diseases, includes lung cancer and heart diseases. Measures to increase the legal age was passed both chambers last year but former Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed it., citing the doubts that the legislation would stop the teenagers from tobacco products, as well as concerns over effect on business. The state has collected more than $745 million in cigarette taxes, according to the Illinois Department of Revenue’s 2018 annual report. The proposal changes would most likely cut the state cigarette tax by $40 million a year and sales tax by $6 to $8 million. California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Oregon, Hawaii, Maine and the District of Columbia have laws that require a person to be 21 before they can purchase tobacco.

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