What Illinois' new Tobacco 21 law means for smokers under 21

CHICAGO (WLS) -- In April of 2019, Governor JB Pritzker signed House Bill 345, which raised the minimum statewide age to purchase tobacco products like cigarettes, chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes, and vapes, from 18 to 21.

But what happens to all those people under 21 who already use these products?

They really only have one legal option: stop.

"Some of the options that folks have in terms of quitting are taking advantage of smoking cessation programs and services," said James Martinez with the American Lung Association. "They can lean on the support of their family, friends, but the first step is to take advantage of those programs."

People under 21 will, however, be able to buy stop smoking patches or gum, even though they contain nicotine.

These kinds of products are approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration as "Tobacco Cessation Products." Because the products are marketed and sold to help people stop smoking, they're allowed.

People and organizations who support the bill hope it will keep younger people from starting a habit that's tough to quit.

The bill goes into effect on July 1.
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