Push to Raise Smoking Age Heads to Rauner’s Desk

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A bill headed for Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk would make Illinois the sixth state in the country to raise the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21. Senate Bill 2332 narrowly passed the Illinois House last week after an initial failed effort. Opponents including the Illinois Chamber of Commerce claim the state could lose millions of dollars in tax revenue, which would then go to other states. However, Kevin O’Flaherty, director of advocacy for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, says the increase will lead to a healthier population over time. “The research does show that this will be effective, and over time we will see significant reductions in smoking among the entire population as well,” he says.