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Link: Tobacco 21 will reduce use among teens, improve health of Illinoisans

link 020217SPRINGFIELD – With tobacco use on the rise among teens for the first time in years, Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) is sponsoring a proposal to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21 years old.

“Smoke Free Illinois was a major step forward in improving the health of Illinoisans and making our state a better place to live,” Link said. “Tobacco 21 builds on that effort by reducing the number of teen smokers and curbing the next generation of adult smokers, moving us one step closer to a healthier, smoke-free Illinois.”

It has been more than 10 years since Link’s Smoke Free Illinois legislation banning smoking in most public places went in to effect. Since Smoke Free Illinois, there has been a 20 percent decrease in hospitalization of various smoking-related diseases. But with the advent of e-cigarettes, tobacco use among teenagers is on the rise for the first time in years.

“More than 90 percent of smokers start before the age of 21,” Link said. “We must do everything possible to curb teen use and protect the lives of adolescent Illinoisans. Tobacco 21 will help us do that.”

Limiting access to cigarettes has proven effective in reducing the rate of tobacco use among teens. In October 2014, Evanston became the first Illinois community to adopt Tobacco 21. Since then, tobacco use among high schoolers has dropped by 37.5 percent.

Sen. Terry Link

link-2014-150

30th District
Assistant Majority Leader

Years served:
1997 - Present

Committee assignments: Energy; Executive; Executive Appointments; Financial Institutions (Vice Chairperson); Gaming; Insurance.

Biography: Partner, Lake County Industrial Equipment; born March 20, 1947, in Waukegan; attended Stout State University; married (wife, Susan McCall Link), has four children.>