Legislation for Tobacco 21 should be passed

Dear Editor, Our state is on the cusp of making a big impact on public health. The Illinois legislature has passed a bill to increase the age of tobacco purchased to 21 years old.

I am a volunteer for the American Cancer Society cancer action network, a non-partisan advocacy organization that is working to reduce the impact cancer has on our state.

We advocated for this legislation because it would reduce tobacco use in everyone under 21, those who have purchased for themselves and those who have their older friends purchase for them. This legislation would reduce smoking related deaths by nearly 10 percent for future generations.

My brother started smoking at 16 and was a 2 pack+ a day smoker. He tried many times over the years to quit but never was successful even though on several occasions he stopped for a month or more. I found out that some people just can’t ever quit. Watching my brother die from severe vascular disease directly related to many years of smoking was hard to take. I often wonder if we had tobacco 21 regulations when he was a teenager if he would still be with us. Statistics show if one has not started smoking by the time they are 21, there is a 90 percent chance they will never smoke.

Now this important bill sits with Governor Rauner.

I am asking the governor to sign this bill into law to show his support for reducing the burden of tobacco on our state.

Roger Crawford Washington

This article provided by NewsEdge.