Local business concerned with new tobacco law - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Local business concerned with new tobacco law

Local business concerned with new tobacco law

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DESOTO -- Gov. Pritzker signed landmark legislation Sunday afternoon, raising the legal age to purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products from 18 to 21 statewide

A local  business is concerned what this new law will do to one of their biggest money makers. 

4-Way Quik Stop manager Lucy Rushing said she doesn't agree with the governor's signature on Tobacco 21. 

"I'd say about two-thirds of our tobacco customers are under the age of 21," Rushing said. "It's probably going to hurt our business."

House Bill 345 will ban all tobacco sales to those under the age of 21. 

Included in the ban are cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and nicotine-based products such as e-cigarettes and vaping materials.

With Pritzker's signature, Illinois is the first mid-west state to raise the minimum legal sales age. 

"While our residents have the right to make this choice for themselves, we need to be realistic on what this choice means for our young people," Gov. J.B. Pritzker said. 

A room full of supporters clapped as Pritzker signed the bill into law in Chicago.

"It will make our communities and schools healthier places to learn and live and most importantly it will save lives," Pritzker said. 

Once the law goes into effect on July 1, Illinois will join seven other states that have raised the smoking age to 21: California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Virginia.

The City of Chicago raised the legal purchasing age to 21 in 2016 and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said during Sunday's bill signing, since the change, they have seen a 50 percent reduction in teen smoking. 

"You don't have to be 21 to go to war, to vote, to get married or gamble," Rushing said. "I think if you can do those things, you should be able to choose if you smoke or not."

Rushing said it's hard enough now to check if people are 18 and going forward it's only going to get harder. 

In addition to raising the purchasing age, HB345 does away with penalties for underage possession.

Businesses, however, will still face fines and other sanctions for selling to people under 21.

Rushing believes this law is not going to stop anyone that is smoking.

"They are still going to find their ways to get cigarettes and to get other tobacco products," Rushing said. 

During Sunday's bill signing, Pritzker said he urges the surrounding states to pass Tobacco 21 as well.

"If there are young people that will travel over state lines to buy tobacco products because they can legally buy them there, then I urge the surrounding states to pass Tobacco 21 too," Pritzker said. 

Rushing said she thinks this new law will only hurt businesses like the 4-Way Quik Stop. 

"It's the whole area, it's going to hurt everybody," Rushing said. 

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