Jesiel Bill to Curb Youth Tobacco Use on its Way to Governor

Yesterday, the Illinois House unanimously passed legislation sponsored by State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) to help ensure tobacco products stay out of the hands of kids. SB2765 has now passed both houses of the Illinois General Assembly, making its next stop the desk of the Governor for a signature into law.

“Even though the serious health risks of tobacco use are well known, nearly half of kids report having tried tobacco by the end of high school,” said Jesiel. “Coupled with the fact that 9 of 10 smokers tried it for the first time by age 18, curbing tobacco use by our youth is the key to this serious health dilemma. SB2765 helps us do this by making sure our retailers are not side-stepping the law and selling it to them.”

As Jesiel noted, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) demonstrate that the overwhelming majority of adult tobacco users started before the legal age of 18. While there are many contributing factors, one contributing factor is the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors.

To address this problem of illegal sales to minors, SB2765 allows the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) to administer a Tobacco Enforcement Program through grant funds provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The program allows IDHS to work with local law enforcement to conduct compliance checks, which may be unannounced and undercover, to ensure retailers are not selling tobacco products to minors. Since the program is funded by federal grant, there is no additional tax burden placed on Illinois taxpayers or local residents.

“Since there are a multitude of reasons why a 15 or 16 year old might try tobacco, there is no universal remedy, but making sure the adults who sell it are being responsible is an important step,” said Jesiel.

For more information about SB2765, Click Here.

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