Chicago City Council Approves Raising Tobacco-Buying Age to 21 | NBC Chicago
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Chicago City Council Approves Raising Tobacco-Buying Age to 21

The ordinance increases the minimum age for buying products such as cigarettes, e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco

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    Chicago's City Council on Wednesday agreed to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's recent tobacco proposal and voted 35-10 to raise the minimum purchasing age from 18 to 21.

    The ordinance increases the minimum age for buying products such as cigarettes, e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.

    The council also approved an ordinance to eliminate smokeless tobacco use at sports venues in Chicago where any organized sports are played, including at Wrigley Field and U.S. Cellular Field.

    “This step is designed to help prevent young people from becoming addicted to nicotine at an early age - in fact, research shows that four out of five smokers start the habit before the age of 21,” Emanuel's office said when the mayor first proposed the ordinance.

    After the vote, Emanuel tweeted, "Chicago is choosing kids over big tobacco."

    The proposal cited cities such as New York, Boston, Cleveland, Kansas City and Evanston that have already implemented similar ordinances.

    The American Lung Association in Greater Chicago applauded the mayor and the council's vote.

    “We congratulate Chicago for joining other major cities, like New York, Boston, Cleveland, Kansas City, and our suburban neighbor Evanston in this smart policy to protect our kids from the scourge of Big Tobacco,” Kristen Young, executive director for the Lung Association said in a statement. "This ordinance will also save millions in health care costs and, most important, will ultimately save lives."

    "In addition, 95 percent of adult smokers start before age 21," Young said. "Raising the legal age would put tobacco products on par with alcohol and protect young adults from developing a dangerous lifelong habit and ultimately save lives."

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