This week the Illinois Senate tackled the controversial issue of raising the age to purchase tobacco, electronic cigarettes or alternative nicotine products to 21.
House Bill 345 would eliminate penalties for underage possession, but retailers still would be fined for selling restricted products to underage customers. A number of communities in Illinois have adopted Tobacco 21 rules, but this legislation would make it a statewide standard.
While the intent of the legislation may be a sincere effort to help people avoid the illnesses associated with smoking, opponents raised concerns that the legislation repealed penalties on possession of tobacco products by minors. This means that while people younger than 21 couldn’t legally purchase these products, there would be no penalty for possessing them.