Starting Jan. 1, you will need to be 21 to purchase tobacco products in unincorporated Lake County.
The Lake County Board approved changes to its tobacco ordinance Tuesday to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products, as well as e-cigarette products, to 21. The measure affects 49 retail outlets in unincorporated Lake County. There are about 400 stores that sell tobacco products countywide.
"This is a major milestone in our efforts to prevent tobacco use among our youth," said Mark Pfister, executive director of the Lake County Health Department. "Each year, an estimated 6,300 Illinois youth start daily smoking habits. This is detrimental to their health and well-being."
The change raises only the minimum age to buy tobacco products. The minimum age to possess tobacco remains 18.
Lake County is the first county in Illinois to raise the tobacco purchase age to 21. Five Lake County communities, including Deerfield, Highland Park, Lincolnshire, Vernon Hills and Buffalo Grove, are among 11 municipalities in the state raise the age.
"Passing Tobacco 21 today is another example of Lake County's commitment to leading the state and nation on the critical issues related to behavioral health," Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor said. "Whether it's mental health challenges, opioids, or tobacco, we have a responsibility to deliver science-based and proven solutions that help people stay healthy."