Health experts applaud new tobacco law - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Health experts applaud new tobacco law

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JACKSON COUNTY, Ill. -- Young adults in Illinois will soon need to wait a few more years to buy tobacco products. Sunday, Governor Pritzker signed a law, raising the age from 18 to 21. Some lawmakers, business owners, and young adults tell News 3 they are not happy with the new law.

Tiara Brown, the regional tobacco coordinator for the Jackson County Health Department advocates for the change. Brown says people are less likely to become addicted if they can't start smoking until 21. 

"90 percent of smokers who are everyday smokers now many of them started at 18 or younger and roughly about 98 percent of smokers starts by the time they're 26," said Brown. 

She adds tobacco is dangerous and any way to reduce usage is beneficial.

"If you used it once or twice there's always that chance of you getting a disease  that you may have never had gotten in the first place had you not picked up a cigarette to begin with," Brown explained. 

Rural areas of the state have a greater number of tobacco users.

"The percentage of smokers in Jackson County specifically is 20 percent while the overall in the united state is 14 percent," said Brown.  

On our WSIL Facebook  page, overwhelmingly people were against this new law, but some people like Monty Bradford, support the law, "Making money by selling cigarettes to young people is amoral."

According to the American Lung Association six other states California, Hawaii, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Jersey have raised the minimum age for buying tobacco products to 21. Illinois became the latest state to be on that list. 

If you or someone you know needs help quitting tobacco you can call this Illinois tobacco quit line at (866) 784-8937.

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