Too young to smoke? IL bill seeks to raise smoking age - Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Too young to smoke? IL bill seeks to raise smoking age

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A bill in Springfield called Tobacco 21 wants to raise the minimum age to buy smoking products. 

Fourteen Illinois cities and counties have already adopted local ordinances to that degree. 

Reports across Illinois said under the Tobacco 21 measure, those younger than 21 would not be able to buy tobacco products, including nicotine products and e-cigarettes. 

Even if the bill passes and becomes state law, some Bradley Students do not think it will change much. 

"It wouldn't really change anything because people do illegal things all the time. They aren't really going to make a law stop them," said Bradley Student Hannah Fauser-Hoyt. 

Monica Hendrickson with the Peoria Health Department said, "I think there is always that concern about whether or not those individuals between 18 and 21 will be accessing it or using it or using someone else's id...Of course that does exist but any type of measures we can put into place the better."

Hendrickson also said in Illinois almost 9,000 young adults start smoking every year and most people who are daily smokers started smoking prior to the age of 21.

"We see people delay initiation of smoking as well as not even initiate to begin with. So we are really decreasing the number of smokers we have in our community," stated Hendrickson. 

Both the Senate Public Health Committee and a House Committee voted in favor of the initiative. 

The bill - under the titles Senate Bill 2332 and House Bill 4297 - is currently working its way through Springfield. 

"I think it's a good thing personally because smoking cigarettes can be more harmful than alcohol," said Bradley Student Alex Cook. 

Professionals and lawmakers said there is a lot of potential behind this change and long-term effects. 

"Illinois last year spent $2 billion on paying healthcare costs related to smoke-related illnesses and diseases, so just imagine that. It's not just the revenue that may be diminishing but the amount of savings does that tenfold better," stated Hendrickson. 

California, New Jersey, Oregon, Hawaii and Maine have already raised the tobacco age to 21.

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