- Published: 19 May 2016
What kills more people than AIDS, car crashes and heart problems? Tobacco, and thanks to a new law sponsored by Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago) that number will hopefully diminish.
"It’s undisputed that smoking will kill you, and before that cause irreparable harm," Mulroe stated. "The cigarette packs clearly state the health risks. If someone doesn’t start smoking by the age of 21, their risk of starting is dramatically decreased."
The proposal would raise the legal smoking age in Illinois to 21, which research shows that young people are not only more fully developed, but also able to make more informed decisions about their health. Tobacco 21 is an effort that has taken hold across the country and recently passed by the city of Chicago.
"There is a huge cost benefit as well. In addition to private costs, studies conducted by CDC says the state of Illinois spends up to $2 billion through Medicaid," Mulroe continued. "The savings to taxpayers would be enormous."
By raising the smoking age to 21, studies show that it becomes more difficult to obtain cigarettes illegally. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Defense is aiming to make all facilities smoke-free by 2020. The legislation includes all smoke tobacco as well as e-cigarettes.
"It makes sense," Mulroe concluded. "Why would we want those that already are in harm’s way to use a product that might kill them?"
The measure passed the Senate yesterday and moves to the House for consideration.