Elgin eyeing Tobacco 21 movement

Elgin will consider joining other municipalities in the Tobacco 21 movement, which pushes to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco and related products in the interest of public health.

The city council voted Wednesday to direct staff members to research the initiative to raise that minimum age from 18 to 21 at the recommendation of the city's board of health. That would includes vaping, e-cigarettes and the like.

Councilman Terry Gavin said he has concerns about the Tobacco 21 initiative.

"If you lay your down life for this country (at 18), you're an adult, you can vote, you can make decisions. ... It should be left up to the individual."

Councilwoman Carol Rauschenberger said it's all about public health. "We do have to put on seat belts, we do have to have cars with air bags."

The Illinois Senate Wednesday voted to raise from 18 to 21 the minimum age to buy tobacco and related products. The House votes next.

For the first time in decades, nicotine and tobacco use increased in 2014 among U.S. high school students, which "is almost entirely due to an explosion in teen use of e-cigarettes, hookahs and vaping," the Tobacco 21 website states.

Evanston was the first to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products in 2014. Chicago, Naperville, Mundelein, Gurnee and Aurora are among the 19 municipalities to join in.

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