Illinois

Recent updates! – Tobacco 21 Progress

9/12/2017 – Lake County (unincorporated) passes Illinois’ 12th Tobacco 21 ordinance; effective January 1, 2018
8/21/2017 – Buffalo Grove passes Illinois’ 11th Tobacco 21 ordinance
8/19/2017 – Berwyn passes Illinois’ 10th Tobacco 21 ordinance
8/1/2017 – Vernon Hills passes Illinois’ 9th Tobacco 21 ordinance
6/13/2017 – Lincolnshire passes Illinois’ 8th Tobacco 21 ordinance
5/3/2017 – The City of Maywood passes Illinois’ 7th Tobacco 21 ordinance
2/9/2017 – Representative Melissa Conyears-Ervin introduces House Bill 3208, the bill would raise the age of sales for all tobacco products to 21; referred to House Rules Committee
12/12/2016 – Deerfield passes Illinois’ 6th Tobacco 21 ordinance
12/6/2016 – Naperville passes Illinois’ 5th Tobacco 21 ordinance
10/12/2016 – Highland Park passes Illinois’ 4th Tobacco 21 ordinance
8/1/2016 – Oak Park passes Illinois’ 3rd Tobacco 21 ordinance
5/29/2016 – Senate Bill 3011 assigned to Health and Human Services Committee
5/18/2016 – Senate Bill 3011 passes Senate by 32-22 vote, on to the Assembly!
4/5/2016 – Senate Bill 3011 passes Public Health Committee
3/16/2016 – Senate Bill 3011 referred to public health committee
3/16/2016 – Chicago passes state’s second Tobacco 21 ordinance
2/18/2016 – Senate Bill 3011 introduced, which would raise Illinois’s tobacco sales age to 21
1/12/2016 – Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduces Tobacco 21 to Chicago
10/27/2014 – Evanston raises tobacco age to 21, becomes first city in state to adopt Tobacco 21

Illinois is another state in which the Tobacco 21 movement is spreading. On October 27th, 2014, the council members of Evanston, Illinois unanimously passed the state’s first Tobacco 21 ordinance. The efforts of the Department of Health and the council members in Evanston are truly commendable and represent a great step forward for Tobacco 21. In early 2016 Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced Tobacco 21, and in March it passed by an overwhelming margin. Since Chicago passed their T21 ordinance, the cities of Oak Park, Highland Park, & Naperville have signed T21 ordinances into law. In the 2017 state assembly, Representative Melissa Conyears-Ervin has introduced House Bill 3208, which would raise the sales age for all tobacco products in Illinois from 18 to 21.

Illinois has a slightly below average rate of high school smoking, an improvement from 2016, but a near identical rate of adult smoking, compared to national rates. Given its high population, this means that 230,000 children now under the age of 18 will die prematurely from smoking, with 6,300 children becoming daily smokers each year. The state spends only 8.9% of the CDC recommended amount on tobacco prevention, this is almost a 100% increase from funding in 2016. However, this is still a low level of funding given the $5.49 billion in annual health care costs that are directly caused by smoking, and the $5.27 billion in lost productivity. The state has a modest tax per pack at $1.98, but special consideration needs to be given to the combined state-county-city tax rates in the Chicago area, where the majority of the state’s population resides. The combination of these three rates results in the highest per pack tax in the nation, $6.16.

There is no preemption language present in state law keeping localities from raising the Minimum Legal Sales Age (MLSA) to 21. Local governments are free to enact ordinances to better protect their kids from addiction. It has been our experience that the most powerful incentive for the state legislature to act is the initiative of local citizens and governmental leaders. Statewide, California and Hawaii’s laws both began at the local level where powerful tobacco industry lobbyists have little sway. We encourage you to talk to your local city council person, county council member or board of health leader. Local champions have largely driven this movement in non-preempted states. Your voice is more influential than you think. Constituents are an impetus for change at the community and statewide levels. Garner interest around Tobacco 21 at the local and state level by communicating with your local legislators through phone calls, emails, and testimony at local government meetings.

For more information, you may contact:

April Seliga
Eastern Region Director
Tobacco 21
April.Seliga@Tobacco21.org

Timothy A. Sanborn MD, MS, FACC, FAHA
Cardiology Division
NorthShore University HealthSystem
Clinical Professor, University of Chicago
Pritzker School of Medicine
TSanborn@Northshore.Org

Kevin O’Flaherty
Played a direct role in shaping NYC’s historic T21 legislation.
Director Northeastern Region
Tobacco Free Kids
KOflaherty@Tobaccofreekids.Org

or visit our sources:

Tobacco Free Kids Illinois: “The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: A future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco.”

American Lung Association State Report Card: “The ALA ‘State of Tobacco Control’ report tracks progress on key tobacco control policies at the state and federal levels, and assigns grades based on tobacco control laws and regulations in effect as of January 2, 2014.”

SLATI State Information Illinois: “SLATI (State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues) is an extensively researched and invaluable source of information on tobacco control laws and policy, and is the only up-to-date and comprehensive summary of state tobacco control laws.”


The Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation and the Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids support these four principles for Tobacco 21 ordinances:

1) Include all tobacco and nicotine products, specifically e-cigarettes. The only exceptions would be FDA recognized nicotine replacement products (gum, patch, etc.) intended for cessation.
2) Include significant enforcement provisions against illegal sales as research shows that consistent enforcement is of critical importance.
3) Not include any pre-emption against local authority in more stringent regulation of tobacco or other nicotine product sales, secondhand smoke, or e-cigarette vapor.
4) Ideally not include possession, usage, or purchase (PUP) penalties that result in criminal records, and instead place the onus on the purveyors of these addictive products.

We welcome your comments and suggestions: Contact Us