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A Chicago suburb will consider raising the minimum age to buy tobacco and nicotine products following a letter from a 9-year-old requesting the mayor help people stop smoking.

 

The Elgin City Council will consider raising the minimum age from 18 to 21 on Wednesday, The Courier-News reported.

The Rockford Park District voted to ban smoking on most of its properties. 

State law already bans smoking within 50 feet of public buildings, but the Rockford Register Star reports violations on park property would impose a $125 fine for first time offenders.  That amount doubles to $250 for a consecutive offense, and $500 for a third offense. 

"Cigarette" by Flickr User Ron Cruz / (CC X 2.0)

The American Lung Association's national “State of Tobacco Report” gives Illinois failing grades in four areas.

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

New research shows cigarettes contribute to more than 1 in 4 cancer deaths in the U.S. The rate is highest among men in southern states where smoking is more common and tobacco control policies are less strict.

The American Cancer Society study found the highest rate among men in Arkansas, where 40 percent of cancer deaths were linked to cigarette smoking.

Kentucky had the highest rate among women - 29 percent.

The lowest rates were in Utah, where 22 percent of cancer deaths in men and 11 percent in women were linked with 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.

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