Last week, Illinois Senator John G. Mulroe proposed an idea at a news conference surrounded by health advocates in regards to attempt to raise the legal smoking age in the state of Illinois from 18 to 21.
Mulroe stated that his intentions are not to target current smokers and in fact many smokers whom he spoke with largely support raising the legal age. Many of them regretted to have begun the habit in the first place.
Several facts were presented at the conference which include:
- Smoking is expensive. There are those who actually smoke two packs a day which in some areas, depending on where you live, cigarettes can cost you around $24/day which totals up to over $8700/year.
- Proof that smoking is deadly is seen on the Surgeon General warning labels on every cigarette pack produced.
- Smoking costs the state billions of dollars in treating smoke-related diseases. 2 billion dollars alone comes from medicaid that is paid for by taxpayer money.
- Raising the legal age of smoking has been researched to cut down on smoking amongst the youth. Statistics show that those who reach age 21 without ever smoking are much more likely to never even start.
Senator Mulroe mentioned, “They can’t quit, the addiciton makes them powerless.”
Even if you don’t smoke, this still should be part of your concern as the previously mentioned 2 billion dollars in taxpayers money is used to treat tobacco-related diseases.
With Mulroe and supporters making valid points, others seem not so keen on the idea of raising the legal age. Anthony Fisher of Reason.com said in regards to changing the law, “[this] restricts the personal liberties of adults, which people who are above the age of 18 are, period. They can be charged as adults under the law, they can fight and die for their country, and they are required to pay taxes. They’re adults, and they are entitled to make their own decisions, even if they are ill-advised decisions like taking up cigarette smoking.”
Fisher further elaborated on the subject matter saying that if the state does go through with this, the state might as well make it so that no one under 21 can purchase sugar, in regards to developing sugar habits and cutting down on diabetes cases.
He also mentioned that we would be a “freer and more tolarant society” since we allow people to make whatever choices they make without turning everything into a potential crime under civil and criminal codes.
The bill known as Senate Bill 3011 would apply to the possession, sale and purchase of any and all tobacco and tobacco related products including electronic cigarettes. The state would charge penalties against businesses who sell any and all tobacco and tobacco related products to anyone that is under 21 years of age in addition making it an offense for anyone under 21 to be in possession of such products.
If passed, Illinois would be the second state that does not allow the statewide sale of tobacco to those under 21. Hawaii is currently the only state that bans statewide sales of tobacco to individuals under 21 meanwhile cities like Cleveland, New York and several others have the same restriction only within the city boundaries. Everywhere else within the state, the age remains at 18 years of age.
Check with websites for further info on which cities have implemented the 21+ law of tobacco sales.