Published 1 week ago
on March 13, 2019
The Chicago Sun Times is reporting that Illinois is a step closer to becoming the next Tobacco 21 state, after the House Bill 345 passed in the House. The measure passed by a vote of 82 to 31, securing the support of several Republicans, including that of Minority Leader Jim Durkin.
Legislation is now moving to the Senate in an expected vote next week. The soonest the Senate could vote is Tuesday, March 19. The measure is expected to pass in the Senate, where it will likely receive enough support to land in front of Governor Pritzker.
There is uncertainty in the governor’s stance on raising the tobacco age, as he hasn’t indicated whether or not he supports the proposal. The governor’s spokeswoman noted in a written statement that Pritzker “ looks forward to reviewing the legislation to raise the smoking age.”
Senate President John Cullerton indicated at a press event in early February that Pritzker would pen the “Tobacco 21” legislation into law if both chambers approved it first.
Durkin admits to flipping his stance on the matter, during debate on Tuesday. He said that while he has “been fighting it for most of [his] career,” he was changing his stance on raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products in part because of research into the “epidemic” of smoking. I am here to say that I am no longer fighting it, but I am supporting Tobacco 21 for the State of Illinois. “
Cullerton is a longtime supporter of Tobacco 21. In a statement Tuesday, Cullerton said, “That’s an encouraging, bipartisan vote that puts us one step closer to finally enacting this important public health protection.”
Other supporters of the legislation include the American Heart Association and American Cancer Society, as well as JUUL Labs. In a statement, JUUL CEO Kevin Burns said “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.”
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Angela Garrity is a Contributing Writer and Social Media Manager for both Vape News Magazine and CBD Magazine. Contact her at Angela@vapemz.com.