Legislation to raise the purchasing age of tobacco products including cigarettes to 21 in Illinois passed the Illinois House Wednesday and now goes to Gov. Bruce Rauner for his signature or a veto.
The House approved the Tobacco 21 initiative on a largely party line vote, 61-49, on the second to last day of the regular session. The Senate previously passed the bill, which raises the age for consumers to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21, in April.
The American Lung Association in Illinois supported the increased age limit.
If the measure is signed by Rauner, Illinois would join five other states – California, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey and Oregon – in raising the tobacco purchasing age to 21. The House currently does not have enough votes to override a veto.
Fourteen Illinois cities and counties, including Evanston and Peoria, approved their own ordinances raising the purchase age to 21.
Retailers expressed concern that the legislation was more about discouraging cigarette sales than preventing teenage smoking. Border retailers also said they were worried about losing business to competitors across state lines.