MINIMUM TOBACCO AGE FACT SHEET

Monday, May 23, 2016 1:30:00 PM

WE SUPPORT THE CURRENT MINIMUM AGE OF 18

The Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association and the Illinois Association of Convenience Stores support the current minimum age of 18 for the sale of all tobacco products.


WAIT FOR THE FEDERAL PROCESS TO BE COMPLETED

While some Illinois lawmakers want to raise the minimum age to 21, IPMA-IACS believes the state should defer to the ongoing federal decision making process.

The federal Tobacco Control Act of 2009 sets the national minimum age at 18, and also requires the FDA to study the public health implications of raising the minimum age and to report its findings to congress. The FDA recently submitted a report to congress, so the process is in motion.


RAISING THE MINIMUM AGE WILL ESPECIALLY HURT RETAILERS NEAR THE BORDERS

Illinois shoppers do not need another reason to cross into neighboring states. Fuel taxes and sales taxes are already driving buyers away, and raising the tobacco age will too. Illinois stores will lose sales and the state will lose much needed tax revenue. Raising the age would be a detriment to Illinois jobs, income and the overall economy. Bordering states already have considerable advantages over Illinois.

 

21 IS AN ARBITRARY MINIMUM AGE TO MANDATE

 There are a host of activities which are legal for 18-year-olds including military duty, voting, jury duty, credit eligibility, medical consents, and even marriage. Tobacco use seems arbitrary to leave off that list by mandating an age of 21.

 

COMBATTING UNDERAGE TOBACCO USE IS SUCCESSFUL

 We fully support underage tobacco prevention efforts in a variety of ways, including comprehensive underage access prevention legislation and investing in organizations that deliver programs designed to promote healthy development and the avoidance of risky behaviors, such as tobacco use. Strong progress has been made to reduce underage access and use:

  • Nationwide, cigarette smoking among eighth, tenth and twelfth graders has declined from a peak of 28% in 1997 to a record low 7% in 2015.
  • In Illinois, tobacco use among 12 to 17-year-olds has declined from almost 13% in 2007 to less than 7% in 2014.

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