© 2024 NPR Illinois
The Capital's Community & News Service
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
00000179-2419-d250-a579-e41d38650002Issues of food, fuel, and field affecting Illinois.

Advocates Call For State-Wide "Tobacco 21" Law

Sam Dunklau
NPR Illinois 91.9 FM
Rep. Camille Lilly (D-Chicago) argues for a higher tobacco purchase age at a press conference on Jan. 30.

The same people who pushed the smoking ban through in Illinois a decade ago were back in Springfield Tuesday, and they want the state legislature to bump up the legal tobacco age from 18 to 21.


Almost all smokers start before they turn 21, according to the Respiratory Health Association.

Representative Camille Lilly is the sponsor of one of two proposals aimed at curbing tobacco use among the nearly 70,000 Illinois high school students who smoke or chew. 

The Chicago Democrat said tobacco use is particularly high among students who are black.

“It is time that we reverse these statistics, and ensure that generations to come in Illinois have a better quality of life,” she said.

Right now, more than a dozen cities in Illinois have set the tobacco age at 21. Lawmakers say the state-wide legislation would target retailers who sell to kids — not the kids themselves.

A source representing the tobacco industry said neither proposal actually addresses tobacco use. 

Sam is a Public Affairs Reporting intern for spring 2018, working out the NPR Illinois Statehouse bureau.
Related Stories