* 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.
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…
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.