New Bill Would Ban Smoking Statewide Until Age 21

Jan 30, 2018

Illinois Democrats want to raise the legal age for smoking or chewing tobacco from 18 to 21.

Credit "Cigarette" by Flickr User Ron Cruz / (CC X 2.0)


State Sen. Julie Morrison of Deerfield and State Rep. Camille Lilly of Oak Park say it will stop teenagers from starting a deadly habit.

The "Tobacco 21" measure would prohibit consumers younger than 21 from buying tobacco-based products including e-cigarettes and other nicotine products.

Almost all smokers start before they turn 21, according to the Respiratory Health Association.

Rep. Lilly says the House proposal is aimed at curbing tobacco use among the nearly 70,000 Illinois high school students who smoke. 

The Chicago Democrat says the smoking rate is particularly high among students who are black.

“It is time that we reverse these statistics, and ensure that generations to come in Illinois have a better quality of life," Lilly said.

Bill Fleischli is executive vice president of the Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association. It represents gas stations and convenience stores.

Fleischli says the bill is "inconsistent." He says 18-year-olds should be allowed to smoke if they can vote or join the military.

Morrison and Lilly say 14 Illinois cities and counties have similar ordinances, including Chicago, Naperville, and Lake County.


The bills are HB4297 and SB2332.

  • The Associated Press and Illinois Public Radio's Sam Dunklau contributed to this report.