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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.
For More Information, Please Contact:
- Ginny Chadwick
- Tobacco 21
- Western Regional Director
- Timothy A. Sanborn MD, MS, FACC, FAHA
- Pritzker School of Medicine
- Cardiology Division
NorthShore University HealthSystem
Clinical Professor, University of Chicago
- Katherine Ungar
- Tobacco 21
- Executive Director
- Jodi Radke
- Tobacco Free Kids
- Director, Rocky Mountain / Great Plains Region