smoking

"Cigarette" By Flickr User Conan / (CC BY 2.0)

The minimum age in Chicago for buying cigarettes and other tobacco products goes up to 21 at the end of the week.

    

The city on Friday joins about 170 local jurisdictions around the country that have made the change, including New York City and Boston. Health advocates have pushed the policy to discourage teenagers from starting a harmful habit.

Hawaii and California have raised the tobacco purchase age to 21 statewide.

Illinois lawmakers are considering a similar measure.

"Cigarette" By Flickr User Conan / (CC BY 2.0)

Legislation raising the age to buy cigarettes seemed to have been extinguished in the Illinois Senate last week. But it suddenly caught fire again as the Senate approved it today.

The measure's sponsor - John Mulroe of Chicago - says this time he found support from people who had been unsure about the measure or who weren't there to vote when it failed to pass earlier this month. 

The legislation would move the legal age to buy cigarettes and e-cigarettes from eighteen years old to twenty-one. 

"Cigarette" By Flickr User Conan / (CC BY 2.0)

A measure to prohibit tobacco sales to people younger than 21 has failed in the Illinois Senate.

The legislation sponsored by Democratic Sen. John Mulroe of Chicago would not have made young smokers criminals. But supporters say they want to prevent young people from getting hooked.

The proposal failed 23-25 Thursday with three "present" votes.

Opponents argued that 18-year-olds should be able to buy tobacco because they may join the military. That was the argument 45 years ago in lowering the drinking age to 18, which is back at 21.

"Day 68..." By Flickr User Sonia Belviso / (CC BY 2.0)

Legislation has been introduced in the Illinois Senate to raise the age to purchase tobacco products in the state from 18 to 21.

Democratic state Sen. John Mulroe of Chicago says he hopes the bill he's sponsoring will decrease the number of young people who start smoking.

But the Illinois Retail Merchants Association says those affected by the change would find other ways to obtain tobacco products.

You can vote, join the military and buy cigarettes at the age of 18 -- for now. 

The legal age to smoke in Illinois would increase from 18 to 21 under legislation introduced in Springfield.

"If we can guide them through these late teens and into their 20s without a nicotine addiction, it's more likely they will never become tobacco users," said Dr. Ronald Johnson, a physician in Pittsfield.

Johnson says Illinois public college campuses already are smoke-free.

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