SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A piece of legislation sponsored by State Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet, to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 years old recently passed out of the Illinois House of Representatives with overwhelming bipartisan support.
“Raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products is critical, as we are deciding to protect young people from addiction. Many smokers pick up the habit as teens because the tobacco industry knows that teenagers are more susceptible to their marketing tactics, and are more vulnerable to the addictive properties nicotine,” said Manley. “By keeping cigarettes and other tobacco products out of the hands of teenagers, we will be protecting them from easily making bad decisions that can lead to lifelong addiction, a multitude of health problems, and a shorter life expectancy.”
Manley’s measure, House Bill 345, also known as Tobacco 21, would increase the age to buy cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and other alternative tobacco products from 18 to 21 years old. The American Cancer Society has released research showing that smoking and other tobacco use shortens the lives of users by over a decade, and 9 out 10 people started using tobacco products before the age of 18. Manley’s measure passed out of the Illinois House last week and now goes to the state Senate for consideration.
“I want to thank Rep. Manley for putting the health and well-being of young people first,” said Matt Maloney, Director of Health Policy for the Respiratory Health Association. “There are seven states that have Tobacco 21 laws in place, and Illinois is one step closer to becoming the eighth. It is my hope that the Illinois Senate will also pass this measure with vast bipartisan support.”