Illinois anti-smoking advocates make another run at Tobacco 21

Dr Julie Morita, commissioner of the Chicago Dept of Public Health, and Dr Paul Petersen of Bloomington, pres-elect of the Illinois State Medical Society. (Dave Dahl/WJBC)


By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – Now that there is a change of governors, health advocates are making another run at a statewide Tobacco 21 law.

“The easiest way to reduce tobacco use is to make sure young people never start in the first place,” said Dr. Julie Morita, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health. “Tobacco-related diseases and death are preventable.”

Supporters provided a list of 36 municipalities where this is already the law. Morita says the percentage of 18- to 21-year-olds who admitted smoking quickly dropped from more than fifteen percent to less than ten percent.

Then-Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a similar bill out of concern for businesses located along the state line.

SB 21 has passed the Senate Public Health Committee.

Dave Dahl can be reached at