Tobacco 21 a Key Strategy in Reducing Youth Smoking
On Thursday, January 24, 2019, the Cook County Board of Commissioners passed Tobacco 21, legislation that will substantially reduce youth smoking by raising the tobacco purchase age to 21 from 18. The policy, often referred to as Tobacco 21, aims to reduce youth smoking by removing legal tobacco purchasers from teen social circles.
A cornerstone of RHA’s work has been to reduce the toll of tobacco on our communities, particularly among our youth. Growing support for Tobacco 21 had previously led to thirty communities across the state adopting local laws to raise the tobacco purchase age, including over ten communities in Cook County. Sixty percent of Cook County residents were already covered by local Tobacco 21 ordinances. A recent study, conducted by FAKO Research & Strategies, shows that 7 out of 10 adults in suburban Cook County support Tobacco 21, including 70 percent of current smokers.
“We’re thrilled to see Cook County taking positive steps to keep young people from a lifetime of nicotine addiction,” says Joel Africk, president and CEO of Respiratory Health Association. “We’ve seen Tobacco 21 laws work to reduce teen smoking in numerous communities and look forward to a happier, healthier Cook County in the years to come.”
Tobacco 21 laws are important because 95 percent of adult smokers take up the habit before they turn 21. In suburban Cook County, 34 percent of high school seniors use any tobacco or vaping products. By raising the purchase age from 18 to 21, the law will help keep tobacco out of schools and away from teens.
Each year tobacco use costs Illinois $5.49 billion in health care costs and $5.27 billion in lost productivity, according to research from the Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids.
Congratulations Cook County!
Tobacco-Free Living (TFL)
Partnering with the community to take a stand against tobacco and reduce tobacco use, exposure to secondhand smoke, and the poor health outcomes associated with tobacco use.
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