SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Sonya Harper, D-Chicago, voted to keep young people healthier by passing legislation raising the age to buy tobacco and smoking products to 21.

“Smoking and tobacco companies aggressively market their addictive products to young people—particularly young people of color—and then leave them to deal with a lifetime of health costs including heart disease, lung cancer and respiratory problems,” Harper said. “We need to prevent teenagers from developing an early addiction to smoking so that may lead healthier lives.”

Harper’s House Bill 345, known as Tobacco 21, would increase the age to buy cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and tobacco products from 18 to 21. The National Cancer Institute reports that almost 90 percent of adults started smoking as teenagers and research from the American Cancer Society has found that smoking and tobacco use shortens the lives of users by over a decade. Harper’s goal is to stop these harmful products from reaching the hands of teenagers so resources that would be spent on expensive health problems can instead be directed towards helping teenagers live and maintain a healthy life.

“I want to make sure our teenagers are engaged in activities that will help them lead a healthy, productive life and not face a lifetime of addiction to cigarettes and tobacco,” said Harper. “I urge my colleagues in the Senate and Governor J.B. Pritzker to support this bill in order to help make Illinois teenagers healthier.”

Rep. Sonya HarperRep. Sonya Harper

6th District

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Springfield Office:
274-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-5971

District Office:
4926 South Ashland
Chicago, IL  60609
(773) 925-6580
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