SPRINGFIELD (IRN) — Anti-smoking advocates said Tuesday that this is the year that Illinois raises the age to buy tobacco to 21.
Lawmakers and public health advocates have been pushing a statewide Tobacco 21 law for years. Last year, lawmakers approved it. But didn’t have enough votes to override a veto from then-Gov. Bruce Rauner.
So what’s changed? Senate President John Cullerton said Tuesday that there’s a new governor.
“It would be the law already, if not for former Gov. Rauner,” Cullerton told reporters at the statehouse. “Now with a new governor, I’m confident that we can get this public health improvement to his desk and signed into law.”
Supporters are using the same argument as last year: That a Tobacco 21 law will save lives and money.
And critics say the same thing that they’ve said for years as well: 18-year-olds can vote, join the military, and get married. So why can’t they make decisions about whether to smoke or vape?
“That’s the essence of our country. That at 18-years-old you get to step up and make decisions with the rest of the adults,” Upper Limits Operations Manager John Sharp said. “Except for [smoking]. That’s ridiculous.”
Lawmakers said they have the votes to pass the law. They will start voting on the proposal in the next few weeks.