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Illinois

Recent updates! – Tobacco 21 Progress – Statewide Bill Tracker

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, more and more cities passed their own ordinances. This culminated in the 2018 passes of a statewide Tobacco 21 law. Once signed by the governor this would make Illinois the 6th state to adopt Tobacco 21. This is extraordinary news for the citizens of Illinois.

Illinois has a near average rate of high school smoking, and above average rate of adult smoking. Given its high population, this means that 230,000 children now under the age of 18 will die prematurely from smoking, with 5,700 children becoming daily smokers each year. The state spends only 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, at $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.

Recent Updates

  • 11/19/2018 – Normal becomes Illinois' 27th Tobacco 21 community (effective 12/1/2018)

  • 07/2018 – Elgin becomes Illinois' 26th Tobacco 21 community

  • 05/2018 – Washington becomes Illinois' 25th Tobacco 21 community

  • 05/23/2018 – Wheaton becomes Illinois' 24th Tobacco 21 community (effective 7/1/2018)

  • 4/24/2018 – Peoria passes Illinois' 23rd Tobacco 21 ordinance (effective May 4, 2018)

  • 4/24/2018 – Glen Ellyn passes Illinois' 22nd Tobacco 21 ordinance (effective July 1, 2018)

  • 4/19/2018 – Skokie passes Illinois' 21st Tobacco 21 ordinance (effective 5/7/2018)

  • 3/27/2018 – Aurora passes Illinois' 20th Tobacco 21 ordinance (effective ...)

  • 3/20/2018 – Gurnee passes Illinois' 19th Tobacco 21 ordinance (effective March 20, 2018)

  • 3/16/2018 – Bolingbrook passes Illinois' 18th Tobacco 21 ordinance (effective April 1, 2018)

  • 3/15/2018 – Hopkins Park passes Illinois' 17th Tobacco 21 ordinance (effective March 15, 2018)

  • 3/13/2018 – Wilmette passes Illinois' 16th Tobacco 21 ordinance (effective March 14, 2018)

  • 2/20/2018 – Riverwoods passes Illinois' 15th Tobacco 21 ordinance (effective February 20, 2018)

  • 11/27/2017 – Mundelein passes Illinois' 14th Tobacco 21 ordinance (effective March 1, 2018)

  • 11/14/2017 – Elk Grove passes Illinois' 13th Tobacco 21 ordinance (effective January 1, 2018)

  • 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

  • 2/9/2017Representative 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

Show All Updates

For More Information, Please Contact:

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

Local Partners:

  • Timothy A. Sanborn MD, MS, FACC, FAHA
  • Cardiology Division
  • NorthShore University HealthSystem
  • mailto:tsanborn@northshore.org
  • Illinois Tobacco 21 Local Partner

Visit Our Resources:

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.

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