Tobacco 21

What’s new?

  • On May 20, 2019 Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced S. 1541 to create a federal law to increase the minimum age for sale of tobacco products to 21.
  • SUCCESS! Your actions helped make Tobacco 21 law in Illinois!  From providing personal testimony, speaking with elected officials to making calls and sending emails.  You made this happen and we are so thankful for your engagement that will help protect our youth from a dangerous, lifetime habit.

What is the issue?

  • The law prevents tobacco products, electronic cigarettes, and alternative nicotine products from being sold to and possessed by anyone under 21 years of age.
  • In addition to the recent state law, Tobacco 21 policies had been successfully implemented in Evanston, Chicago, Oak Park, Highland Park, Buffalo Grove, Berwyn and Naperville.
  • Tobacco 21 is now law in nine statement and hundreds of localities.

Why does it matter?

  • Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. In Illinois, 18,300 residents die each year, and more than 8,700 young people in Illinois become new daily smokers every single year.
  • Nearly 95 percent of adults who smoke started before the age of 21 and nearly 100 percent by age 26.
  • After a decade of consistent decreases in tobacco use by teenagers, the National Youth Tobacco Survey reports that in 2014 overall use of tobacco among youth rose, including electronic cigarettes, hookahs, and even cigars exposing dangerous new trends.
  • The Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Medicine has concluded that raising the minimum legal age of sale of tobacco products nationwide would resulting in 223,000 fewer premature deaths, 50,000 fewer deaths from lung cancer, and 4.2 million fewer years life lost for those born between 200 and 2019.
  • Illinois has an above national average rate of high school smoking, and a near average rate of adult smoking.

What is the AMITA Health perspective?

  • The health and well-being of children is a priority. Children are among the most vulnerable members of society and their well-being through prevention and education should be a priority.  By raising the age to purchase tobacco products to 21, we exponentially decrease the likelihood that children will become smokers.
  • AMITA Health believes in prevention. Our Catholic mission calls us to care for the whole person.  By taking small steps to prevent children from forming a habit that will lead to chronic diseases, we help our communities to be healthier and avoid major complications and cost associated with managing the health impacts of smoking.
  • AMITA Health is committed to community health. In the communities we serve, we work with others to look at the overall health of the community and identify the greatest needs.  We develop a plan of action and work together to make our communities healthier.  We join with our partners to support Tobacco 21.

External Resources

Information from third-party organizations that can be resources for you to continue to learn about the issues at hand.

T21 Fact Sheet

View Resource

T21 Letter of Support Governor Rauner

View Resource

Featured News

Featured news includes articles from multiple viewpoints and is designed to keep you abreast of the current debate around this issue. This information should not be construed as our point of view.

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Senate GOP Leader Would Raise Age for Buying Tobacco to 21

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose home state of Kentucky was long one of the nation’s leading tobacco producers, introduced bipartisan legislation Monday to raise ...

New York Times + May 20, 2019 + View Article

Legislation raising age of tobacco sales goes to Illinois governor

A prohibition on tobacco sales to those under 21 is now under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s consideration.

Fox News + March 14, 2019 + View Article