laws restricting minors expanded
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[August 27, 2008]
CHICAGO -- On Tuesday, Gov. Rod
R. Blagojevich signed legislation making it even more difficult for
minors to purchase cigarettes in Illinois.
Senate Bill 2546, sponsored by state Sen. James Clayborne Jr.,
D-East St. Louis, and state Rep. Daniel J. Burke, D-Chicago,
prohibits all out-of-package sales of single or loose cigarettes.
Often referred to as "onesies," these single cigarettes are no
longer protectively packaged and do not display the health warning
label required by federal law.
The new law also prohibits tobacco vending machines in factories,
businesses, offices, private clubs and other places not open to the
general public. In addition, the new law makes it explicitly illegal
for minors under 18 to use altered or fake IDs to buy cigarettes or
other tobacco. The law will go into effect Jan. 1, 2009.
this law, we are taking additional steps to make sure cigarettes
stay out of the hands of our children," Blagojevich said. "Senate
Bill 2546, along with the recently passed Smoke-Free Illinois Act,
both help to move us closer to an Illinois where we can all breathe
safely and easily."
Blagojevich administration officials joined advocates in Chicago
to applaud the governor for signing this new law aimed at
restricting the availability of cigarettes to minors in Illinois.
"Tobacco addiction can start at a very early age, and public
health experts agree it is important to keep tobacco out of the
hands of adolescents to avoid this. With the governor's signature,
this legislation will provide new tools for the Illinois Liquor
Control Commission to ensure that tobacco retailers are not selling
cigarettes to minors in the form of single cigarettes," said Lainie
Krozel, executive director of the Illinois Liquor Control
Commission. "Every day 3,000 young people under the age of 18 become
regular smokers. If we can help stop minors from becoming addicted,
even by one cigarette at a time, we will be helping to save lives."
The legislation signed by the governor on Tuesday amends the Sale
of Tobacco to Minors Act. Those who violate the provisions of that
act are guilty of a petty offense and are fined $200 for the first
offense, $400 for the second offense in a 12-month period and $600
for the third or any other subsequent offense in a 12-month period.
The fine is levied against the clerk selling the tobacco product to
"This law was introduced to help ensure cigarettes stay out of
the hands of the children of our state," Clayborne said. "It is
important that we take the additional steps necessary to make sure
that minors do not take that first puff."
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Each year, tobacco use kills more than 425,000 Americans -- more
than 19,000 of them in Illinois. Among Illinois youth, approximately
one in six middle school students and one in three high school
students use some form of tobacco product. It is estimated that a
third of these young people will become regular smokers and could
face an increased risk for smoking-related death.
"Reducing youth access to tobacco products is a top priority of
the American Lung Association because it results in fewer children
becoming addicted to cigarettes for life," said Harold P. Wimmer,
president and CEO of the American Lung Association of
Illinois-Greater Chicago. "By further limiting vending machine sales
and eliminating the sale of single or loose cigarettes, this new law
helps us meet our mission to prevent lung disease and promote lung
Successfully reducing youth access to tobacco products requires a
variety of tactics, including retailer education programs, personal
visits from law enforcement authorities, the aid of state
government, sustainable tobacco access control programs, community
awareness and a climate that discourages youth tobacco use.
"The health of the children in our communities is of vital
importance. Smoking can cause numerous health problems, such as
coronary heart disease, lung cancer, respiratory diseases and
premature death," said Dr. Damon T. Arnold, director of the Illinois
Department of Public Health. "Reducing exposure to tobacco for our
children enhances their future well-being."
The Illinois Liquor Control Commission awards $1 million in
grants annually to communities that chose to implement its
[Text from file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]