Posted by 28 January 2019
The minimum age for buying tobacco products in Illinois may soon go up to 21. After failing with a similar proposal last year, legislators are back with a bill that would increase the tobacco purchase age in that state.
Currently someone who wants to buy tobacco in Illinois must be 18. That is the same minimum purchase age for tobacco that exists in most states. However, public health advocates and some lawmakers think that 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds should be prohibited from purchasing or possessing tobacco.
These advocates argue that allowing young adults to purchase tobacco sets them up for an addiction that lasts a lifetime. They say that raising the tobacco purchase age to 21 will help protect these young adults’ health and contribute to a reduction in the smoking rate. Opponents counter that adults should be free to buy tobacco products if they want. They say that politicians should not be making this choice for adults who know the risks that come from using tobacco.
A handful of other states already restrict tobacco purchases to individuals 21-years-old or older. These include California, Oregon, Hawaii, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Maine. A few states, such as Alabama and Utah, set the minimum age for tobacco purchases at 19.
Do you think that the legal age for tobacco purchases should be raised to 21?