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Tobacco 21 bill will head to governor’s desk

Thursday, Mar 14, 2019

* The rollcall is here. Senate Democrats…

Hoping a new governor results in a better outcome, the Illinois Senate overwhelmingly approved raising to 21 the legal age to buy cigarettes and alternative nicotine products, clearing the way for the proposal to go to Gov. JB Pritzker and become state law.

The 39-16 vote Thursday comes less than a year after the Senate approved an identical proposal only to have it vetoed by then-Gov. Bruce Rauner. Since then, the proposal has steadily picked up support.

“Everyone knows this should already be the law. Thankfully, we’ve got a new governor and a new chance to right past wrongs and make Illinois a healthier state,” said Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, a public health advocate and supporter of the Tobacco 21 legislation.

The key issue, Cullerton said, is preventing young adults from buying cigarettes for younger teenagers, who then become addicted and face a lifetime of increased health problems.

More than 30 Illinois communities have these restrictions in place. Evanston was first nearly five years ago. Others include Chicago, Normal, Barrington and Hoffman Estates.

“We’ve seen this work in Chicago and other numerous communities. I want to thank Mayor Rahm Emanuel for his work to not only improve public health in the city but to support our efforts here to do the same statewide,” Cullerton said. “It’s time for the state to step up and protect our children from this known danger.”

Hawaii, Maine, Oregon, Massachusetts, New Jersey, California and most recently Virginia have all enacted Tobacco 21 legislation. In Virginia, the bipartisan proposal was even backed by one of the nation’s largest tobacco companies.

The Illinois proposal, HB 345, is sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Julie Morrison, a suburban Deerfield Democrat. Lawmakers have 30 days to send the paperwork to Gov. Pritzker’s office. He then has 60 days to sign or veto it.

…Adding… Tribune

Pritzker’s spending plan for the budget year that begins July 1 includes $65 million in new revenue from proposals to increase the $1.98-per-pack cigarette tax by 32 cents and apply the state’s wholesale tobacco tax to e-cigarettes. The governor’s office did not respond to requests for comment on how raising the legal purchasing age would affect those revenue estimates.

…Adding… From yesterday

The soonest the Senate could vote on the legislation, House Bill 345, is Tuesday.

Normally, that would be the case. This time was different.

So, how did the House pass a House bill on Tuesday and the Senate pass it in two days when three days of reading are required? Well, it was three days. The Senate read the bill into the record late Tuesday, then immediately referred it to the Assignments Committee, which referred it directly to the floor the next day for 2nd Reading. The Senate skipped a substantive committee hearing because a Senate committee had already passed an identical bill. The legislation was then advanced to 3rd Reading and voted on today.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

20 Comments
  1. - Just Observing - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 1:24 pm:

    It’s not that tobacco is benign, but this bill is just hard to reconcile considering 18 is considered a legal adult for almost every thing else (except alcohol which is also hard to reconcile).


  2. - anon2 - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 1:36 pm:

    === In Virginia, the bipartisan proposal was even backed by one of the nation’s largest tobacco companies.===

    That made me suspicious, so I looked up the text of HB345. While it raises the minimum purchase age to 21, it eliminates the prohibition on underage possession. So minors will no longer be subject to penalties under state law for possession of tobacco products.


  3. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 1:36 pm:

    ===except alcohol which is also hard to reconcile===

    Their brains are still growing. Alcohol is particularly bad for them.


  4. - anon2 - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 1:39 pm:

    == 18 is considered the legal age for almost everything else except alcohol ==

    The handgun purchase age is 21. The age to enter a casino is 21. The age to drive a school bus is 21. The minimum age to run for the IL General Assembly is 21. So you missed a few.


  5. - I Miss Bentohs - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 1:39 pm:

    I know I have shared this before but I still find it interesting … and it was re-affirmed two weeks ago.

    I work with the youth at my church and the 14 to 16 group assure me that it is easier to get pot then it is cigarettes or alcohol. Upon further questioning, the cigs are the least desired of the three.


  6. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 1:41 pm:

    ===it is easier to get pot then it is cigarettes or alcohol===

    Pot dealers don’t check ID cards.


  7. - Tuscola Vino - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 1:44 pm:

    Chapin Rose voted present? Huh?


  8. - Just Me 2 - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 1:49 pm:

    We really need a like button so I can “like” Rich’s comment at 1:41 p.m.


  9. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 1:51 pm:

    Can’t the Governor work his way around the revenue impact question by reusing his plastic bag tax response?


  10. - Baltimoron - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 2:33 pm:

    “I work with the youth at my church and the 14 to 16 group assure me that it is easier to get pot then it is cigarettes or alcohol. Upon further questioning, the cigs are the least desired of the three.” Did you ask them about addictive JUULs and e-cigarettes?

    I’m personally happy that this passed. I taught tobacco prevention to 4th graders last week and every one of them knew what e-cigs and JUULs are. Some had found discarded JUUL pods on the playground or the sidewalks.


  11. - Just Me 2 - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 2:36 pm:

    Why the extreme rush on this bill?


  12. - A Jack - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 2:52 pm:

    @Just Me 2…. the GA does have a full plate with progressive taxes, marijuana legalization, and the FY 20 budget. So why not get it done? This bill was already debated last year.


  13. - Rabid - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 3:02 pm:

    Smart approaches keep smoking out of the hands of the youths before legalization


  14. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 3:15 pm:

    “only to have it vetoed by then-Gov. Bruce Rauner“

    What can’t be reconciled for me is that the former governor and many in his party don’t want to prevent teenagers from buying deadly tobacco products, but they don’t want adults age 21 and older to legally buy marijuana. Part of the benefit of legalization is that the types of people above will no longer have that power over us.


  15. - Just Me 2 - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 3:34 pm:

    A Jack - I have some issues that I suspect will also pass. Can we fast track those bills too?


  16. - Take That PBMs - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 3:55 pm:

    West Virginia just published a study where the State of West Virginia saved $54 MILLION by switching back to regular Medicaid and away from the MCO model.
    There is no reason for a PBM when Illinois Medicaid already has the processes in place and can do it much cheaper and much fairer than a PBM that is owned by a pharmacy chain.


  17. - Sue - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 4:15 pm:

    If Pritzker wants to maximize his new tobacco revenue he should do an amendatory veto and change the age to 12


  18. - JS Mill - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 4:50 pm:

    =“I work with the youth at my church and the 14 to 16 group assure me that it is easier to get pot then it is cigarettes or alcohol. Upon further questioning, the cigs are the least desired of the three.” Did you ask them about addictive JUULs and e-cigarettes?

    I’m personally happy that this passed. I taught tobacco prevention to 4th graders last week and every one of them knew what e-cigs and JUULs are. Some had found discarded JUUL pods on the playground or the sidewalks.=

    You beat me to it…this includes vaping and we need to deal with that in a big way. Our local city council passed an ordinance creating a $100 fine for possession and another $100 for use in our school. Unfortunately 18 and over don’t get a ticket. Now they can, the tickets have been effective at least as far as the school goes.


  19. - Al - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 5:12 pm:

    Rauner had a bundle in tobacco stocks; not just American ones either. Addicts supply steady “cash flow”.

    In a hurry on this bill to prevent addiction, reduce healthcare costs and premature deaths and make American labor cost more economically competitive. We need an educated and healthy workforce.


  20. - Yep - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 5:15 pm:

    ===except alcohol which is also hard to reconcile===

    ===Their brains are still growing. Alcohol is particularly bad for them.===

    Yep legalize pot that will make everyone feel better


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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