SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Legislation supported by state Rep. Michelle Mussman, D-Schaumburg, to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products in Illinois became law on July 1.
“The majority of smokers today started when they were in their teens,” Mussman said. “By preventing teens from having access to it legally, we are hoping to see a drastic reduction in overall tobacco use in the future. This bill was created for the benefit of public health, and I am confident that it will lead to a healthier future for many teens and young adults in Illinois.”
The Mussman-backed House Bill 345 increases the minimum age to purchase tobacco products and tobacco alternatives from 18 to 21 years old. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. The American Cancer Society has also released research stating 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. Illinois is now the 18th state in the country to raise the age to purchase tobacco to 21.
“Increasing the minimum age to purchase harmful and addictive tobacco products has been an ongoing effort, and I’m grateful that we were able to implement this important change,” Mussman said. “I’m happy that we have now become the first state in the Midwest to increase the legal smoking age and I hope that our neighboring states will follow our example.”