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Illinois Becomes First State in Midwest to Raise Tobacco Age to 21

Monday, April 8, 2019

Tobacco 21
Dr. Robert Barish, vice chancellor for health affairs at UI Health (second from right), and Dr. Robert Winn, director of the University of Illinois Cancer Center (far right), with sponsors and supporters of the “Tobacco 21” law.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law the legislation April 7. The law - which covers tobacco and vaping products, including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes, and vapes - goes into effect July 1.

The signing took place at the Mile Square Health Center-Main location. Dr. Robert Barish, vice chancellor for health affairs at UI Health, and Dr. Robert Winn, director of the University of Illinois Cancer Center, were among the leaders present the "Tobacco 21" signing. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, Senate President John Cullerton, and chief legislative sponsors Rep. Camille Lilly and Sen. Julie Morrison also were on hand for the event.

Before signing the bill, Pritzker noted that 1.5 million more young people used e-cigarettes in 2018 than in 2016.

UI Health has a comprehensive Lung Cancer Screening Program that focuses on low-dose computer tomography (CT) scanning to detect lung cancer at earlier stages, when it is more preventable. The Tobacco Treatment Center also provides smoking-cessation services to help prevent diseases like lung cancer and COPD, and UI Health is a proud supporter of the new Tobacco 21 law.