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Tobacco 21 roundup

Wednesday, Mar 13, 2019

* I know we discussed this yesterday, but there’s not a lot of news out there, so let’s take a look at the Tobacco 21 coverage

The state of Illinois is a big step closer to raising the age to buy cigarettes or other tobacco products. The Illinois House yesterday approved the Tobacco 21 plan. It raises the age to buy cigarettes, dip, or vape products to 21. Supporters say the new law would stop older teens from buying tobacco for younger teens.

Interestingly enough, the Senate read the bill into the record late yesterday and could start hearings as early as this week and might possibly even have a floor vote by Thursday. But, that’s a pretty ambitious schedule and the SDems haven’t caucused on this yet. Either way, it’s now in position for a very fast track.

* Tribune

A spokeswoman for Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker did not directly comment on the bill, which still has to get through the Senate, but said the governor “believes in order to help build a healthy society we have to work to prevent young people from smoking.”

“He looks forward to reviewing the legislation to raise the smoking age, spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh said in an email.

While the bill would raise the legal age for purchasing cigarettes and vaping products, it would do away with penalties for underage possession. Retailers still would be fined for selling restricted products to underage customers.

“This is a public health issue, not a criminal issue,” said Democratic state Rep. Camille Lilly of Chicago, the bill’s sponsor.

Lilly did a very good job with this bill. I was told the last soft roll call had 72 votes in support. It received 82, which is 21 more than it received last November.

Lots of parents are freaked out these days about the explosive rise in teenage vaping. That could’ve explained a lot of these flips

Republican state Rep. Jim Durkin, of Western Springs, said he has fought against the issue for many years. Now, he said, he credits his 17-year-old daughter for helping him change his mind about what she called an issue “out of control”.

“She said you guys need to do something. I said Caroline, I’m doing something, I’m changing my mind.”

* Capitol News Illinois

The bill leaves in penalties for merchants who sell to minors. Bill Fleischli, executive vice president of the Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association and the state’s Association of Convenience Stores, finds fault with this logic.

Fleischli said merchants then become the policers, because law enforcement would be unable to do anything if an officer saw a minor with a cigarette, for example.

Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, who is a chief co-sponsor of the measure, said he knows “this isn’t a perfect bill.”

“For those who wonder about the decriminalization aspect of it, I’d like you to ask a member of our law enforcement how many kids they actually bust for smoking a cigarette every day,” he said. “It doesn’t actually happen today.”

* Illinois News Network

Republican Toni McCombie said the law is likely to have unintended consequences.

“We have got to quit chipping away at our personal liberties and our tax bases,” she said.

Estimates on the bill say the state would lose up to $40 million per year in tobacco tax revenue, but Lilly said that estimate isn’t accurate because it assumes everyone would suddenly abide by the law. […]

“Research shows that Tobacco 21 laws can make a tremendous impact on the health of our communities as well as reduce healthcare costs from tobacco-related diseases,” said Kathy Drea from the Lung Association. “This law is proven to protect children, reduce smoking rates, save on healthcare costs and save lives. In fact, Chicago saw a 36 percent decline in the use of tobacco products among teens after passing Tobacco 21 in 2016.”

I’m now wondering where Rep. Toni “Personal Liberties” McCombie will be on the cannabis legalization bill. Just sayin…

* Gatehouse

Republican Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer of Jacksonville, speaking against the bill, said his concern on the bill is mainly philosophical. Davidsmeyer’s district borders the Mississippi River, which means businesses would be competing with Missouri, which has a lower cigarette tax.

“I believe if a person is old enough to decide who the most powerful person on the planet, the president of the United States, is, I think they’re responsible enough to look at the package of cigarettes or look at the can of chewing tobacco and see that it says it can kill you,” Davidsmeyer said.

So, if an 18-year-old should be allowed to decide whether to smoke cigarettes or vape nictoine, should a 21-year-old be allowed to decide whether to smoke or vape legal cannabis? Rep. Davidsmeyer will be letting us know soon enough.

* From JUUL Labs CEO Kevin Burns…

We applaud the Illinois House of Representatives for passing legislation to raise the purchasing age for all tobacco products, including vapor products, to 21 and we will continue to work with lawmakers in Illinois to get this policy signed into law.

We cannot fulfill our mission to provide the world’s one billion adult smokers with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes, the number one cause of preventable death in this country, if youth-use continues unabated. Tobacco 21 laws fight one of the largest contributors to this problem – sharing by legal-age peers – and they have been shown to dramatically reduce youth-use rates. That is why we are committed to working with lawmakers to enact these effective policies and hope more jurisdictions follow in Illinois’ example.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 10:12 am:

    Meanwhile, Gov. Pritzker schedules a meeting with Leader Durkin’s daughter to discuss the benefits and need for a “Fair Tax” system in Illinois.

  2. - Teacher - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 10:20 am:

    As a public educator and Dean of Students, this is something that we fight each and every day. The rebel effect is quite high. With kids attempting to use the vapes in the bathrooms, lunch rooms, lockers, and even classrooms. They are tough to spot and we see more and more kids using it in the last 6 months. For the most part, it seems like many of the products are being bought by our 18 year old students or recent grads and then sold to our younger students. We have had students as young as 5th grade caught with it on them. Removed from the rights of 18-year olds or tax base, I think the biggest reason to raise it to 21 is to keep it out of the hands of those under 18.

  3. - LXB - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 10:23 am:

    ==“We have got to quit chipping away at our personal liberties and our tax bases,” she said.==

    So can I assume she’s in favor of the increased cigarette tax?

  4. - Responsa - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 10:39 am:

    ==The rebel effect is quite high.==

    Bingo. Teen rebels flout the law. That’s the appeal to them. That’s what they do. Pass the law, fine, I’m with you. But don’t expect it to solve the problem of teen smoking and vaping.

  5. - Rabid - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 10:39 am:

    you got $40,000,00 from addicted teens coming in its a no brainier

  6. - Just Me 2 - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 10:40 am:

    ===might possibly even have a floor vote by Thursday.===

    This tobacco-tax issue is another example of when the Democrats really want to move fast on something they can. Any criticism that they aren’t moving fast enough on a priority is now well deserved.

  7. - NoGifts - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 10:42 am:

    I don’t like to see more teen behavior criminalized.

  8. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 10:47 am:

    As an ex-smoker I wish it would have been more difficult to start as a teenager. But I’m old, I was rarely carded buying cigarettes at 16. If I was denied, I could always find a vending machine.

  9. - Big Jer - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 10:47 am:

    While I agree with raising the age to 21, I am not sure how much of an effect it will have.

    I attended high school in the western suburbs of Chicago in the mid 1970’s. The year before my freshman year the high school was a closed campus.

    When the school was a closed campus the hall monitors, etc. used to do bathroom checks and they would find large orange juice cartoons in the trash. When they would lift the orange juice cartoons out of the trash, a large bottle of booze would fall out of the bottom of the carton.

    The following year the school became an open campus with the idea that if teens are going to do what teens do then better to do it outside or off campus than in the school. They also set up a smoking area in the courtyard of the school.

    Lastly, in today’s over medicated childhood with Ritalin, Adderall, etc. teens are sharing or selling their meds to classmates. And we are worried about Tobacco?

    Society is not going to stop teens from doing anything. All we might do is slow them down.

    IMO children and teens are a reflection of their culture. Our culture is one of school shootings, drug use, unstable families, no job security for their parents, poverty, inequality, student loans, and intense pressure to do well in school in order to get into the “right” college. Nah, no stress for children or teens there./snark

  10. - Winderweezle - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 11:03 am:

    Rich, does all caps in abbreviations like juul or foid trip the site filter?

    I know I get moderated sometimes and I always assume it’s my IP address but wonder if it’s something else…?

  11. - Teacher - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 11:08 am:

    “Society is not going to stop teens from doing anything. All we might do is slow them down”

    To completely stop, I agree. However, I think the influence from society can be more substantial than giving credit for. Only 5% of 12th graders smoke cigarettes on a daily basis today, compared to 30% in the 1970’s.

  12. - Retired Educator - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 11:12 am:

    The problem is the loss of tax revenue. What will happen is raising the tax on legal purchase to make back the lost money. So we do the right thing, to protect the youth, and we slam the legal purchasers to get the money back. (Peter meet Paul)

  13. - Big Jer - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 11:28 am:

    ==Only 5% of 12th graders smoke cigarettes on a daily basis today, compared to 30% in the 1970’s.===

    Teacher- thanks for the counterpoint.

    The public health campaign against tobacco use has done a good job of showing the negative effects of smoking and second hand smoke. That has filtered down to the kids who do do see cigarette smoking as “cool” anymore.

    That being said, even in the 70’s I did not see a lot of teenagers smoking cigarettes. Some but not a lot. As I mentioned in my previous comment, what was prevalent and is still the “drug” of choice is alcohol.

  14. - Res Melius - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 11:54 am:

    I have known several Teach for America teachers. Overall, they were very talented recent undergraduates from high quality university programs who were doing it noble purposes. They did have some training before going to the classroom. From discussions, they definitely had a learning curve but I believe they brought welcome energy as recent undergraduates focused on the students. I believe the students also welcomed the experience for the most part. The TFA folks also learned from their students and their situations. Most stayed two years and they are on to other careers having learned from this experience. One thing to keep in mind, education is fine but all the training in the world does not make one an effective teacher.

  15. - thechampaignlife - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 12:14 pm:

    ===when the Democrats really want to move fast on something they can===

    Is it really moving fast when it is built on the work of prior bills and efforts over the past several years? Sure, this latest action was fast, but that is because the sponsors had their ducks in a row. If you want to move fast on something entirely new, you better get comfortable with an entirely different reality of what is “fast”.

    ===we slam the legal purchasers to get the money back===

    That is by design. We would rather people not smoke, even if that causes one revenue source to drop, because the net good for that individual, society, and taxpayers is much higher when they are not dying of cancer.

  16. - thoughts matter - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 12:20 pm:

    I want a follow up bill. If an 18 year old can’t decide whether smoking is bad for them… then they can’t decide that deploying to a war zone is good or bad either. So, fine, you can join the armed forces - but you can’t be in a combat zone until you are 21.

    I freely stipulate that smoking cigarettes is bad for you. Anything that reduces smoking is good. But preventing the loss of life or limb of an 18 year old needs to be addressed too.

  17. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 12:39 pm:

    ===because the sponsors had their ducks in a row===


  18. - A Jack - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 12:44 pm:

    @thoughts matter, that would be a federal issue, not a state issue.

  19. - A Jack - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 12:50 pm:

    @NoGifts, this bill removes penalties from teenagers smoking, so you should be for it. The bill will only penalize retailers. Under current law, one 14 year old could be arrested for offering a cigarette to another 14 year old. But that would go away under this bill.

  20. - Blue Moon of Kentucky - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 12:50 pm:

    Everyone make sure that lung association person leaves town before the legal weed vote.

  21. - Just Me 2 - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 1:51 pm:

    thechampionlife — I find your comment a little insulting. I’ve passed many bills over the years that received unanimous votes in both chambers and were easily signed by the Governor. All of those bills followed the usual process of introduction as a new bill in January, passage through the first chamber in February/March, and passage through the second chamber in April/May, and then signature in July/August.

    I can count on one hand in the past 20 years the number of times Iv’e seen a bill passed the first chamber and then the second chamber before the second chamber was even done with their regular bills during regular Spring Session.

    My point here is that anytime the Democratic majorities use “time” or “process” as an excuse their reasoning won’t mean very much to me. They’ve shown with two examples in just a few weeks that they can pass bills in an express process when they choose to.

  22. - Blue Dog Dem - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 2:25 pm:

    …only 5% of 12th graders….wait a minute. I thought yesterday smoking was rampant on 17 yr olds. What’s going on here?

  23. - thechampaignlife - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 3:43 pm:

    @Just Me 2:

    I am not disagreeing with your argument, only your conclusion. I agree, this was fast-tracked. As you say, such a move is exceedingly rare. But, that was only possible because of the years of work that preceded it and the momentum of an administration change.

    If Rauner was still in office, if this was the first time this idea had been floated, or any of many other factors had come into play, this would not have happened. Sure, it can happen if the stars are aligned, but you cannot expect it to happen on just any bill that is deemed a priority. Just because they did it once does not mean that it is infinitely repeatable in any, most, or even many cases. Nor would it likely be good governance.

    Therefore, I disagree with the conclusion that “Any criticism that they aren’t moving fast enough on a priority is now well deserved.”

  24. - GraduatedCollegeStudent - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 7:17 pm:

    ===…only 5% of 12th graders….wait a minute. I thought yesterday smoking was rampant on 17 yr olds. What’s going on here? ===

    Vaping, as opposed to smoking, is spiking, in part because of dubious claims of safety (in reality, it turns out that nicotine alone can cause plenty of health problems…including the small issue that you actually can OD on it).

    That’s why there’s such a need for action.

  25. - revvedup - Wednesday, Mar 13, 19 @ 7:50 pm:

    As Illinois falls into the trap of “you have be 21 to make adult decisions” (except to vote, enlist in the military, or drive) where does this idea stop? The idea that an 18 year old isn’t mature enough to chose for themselves (although they are legally able to sign contracts as an adult) is absurd. Maybe if we stop babying adults they’d bother to act responsibly.

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