Smoking age legislation moving through IL Senate

Smoking age legislation moving through IL Senate

ILLINOIS (KFVS) - Some in Illinois are hoping a recent proposal will prevent young people from picking up the smoking habit, while others believe the legislation is an over-reach.

Legislation that would increase the smoking age from 18 to 21 is officially moving through the Illinois Senate as of Friday, March 18.

The update comes less than a week after Chicago changed the age within city limits, falling in line with California, where lawmakers passed similar legislation earlier this month.

"As you are older you can make a better judgment," Marion Pediatrician Pradeep Reddy said. "And as you are older, you are less likely to begin at all, because the teenage peer pressure is not there."

"I think it's a good idea, but I'm not sure how much it will actually do." Marion teenager Courtney Deaton Hasker said. "Especially with peer pressure in today's society. They're still gonna do it, whether they're 15, 21 or 18."

A 2015 institute of Medicine Study found that 90 percent of smokers began when they were 19 or younger, and 100 percent did before the age of 26.

The same study predicted that a change in the smoking age would lead to a 25 percent reduction in smoking among teens between the ages of 15 and 17.

"I've done it," 18-year-old smoker Mike Velazquez said. "I've made that decision. I think once you turn 18, you're legally an adult, which means you should be able to make your own decisions. I believe that I have enough conscience to make my own decisions."

The Bill (SB3011) was proposed last month, and was officially introduced to the Illinois Senate on Friday, March 18.

For more information on the bill, click here.

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