Ban Sale of Tobacco to Illinois Minors

Young Smokers

Target: Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner

Goal: Increase legal smoking age to fight teen addiction.

Hawaii has become the first state to raise the legal smoking age from 18 to 21. As of January 1st, 2016, minors can be fined up to $50 and retailers up to $2,000 for selling tobacco to anyone under the age of 21. A recent University of California Los Angeles study determined teens are far more responsive to the effects of smoking, due to significant changes taking place in brain chemicals during adolescence. These changes make them more vulnerable to addiction than adults.

Lisa Rapaport’s article “Teen Smokers May Be Hard-Wired For Cigarette Addiction”  quotes Harvard University director Nancy Rigotti of the Tobacco Research and Treatment Center in Boston Massachusetts, which states, “To the extent that teen brains may be more sensitive to nicotine than adult brains, it makes sense to set the age for buying cigarettes at 21 to help keep adolescents from using tobacco when they may be more vulnerable to cravings”.

In 2011 the Centers for Disease Control estimated 17.5% of Illinois youth in grades 9-12 smoked tobacco. A higher percentage of teen smokers means it is urgent that Illinois take action and increase the legal smoking age. Banning tobacco sales to anyone under 21 will help keep cigarettes out the hands of impressionable minors. Please sign the below petition to show your support of the ban on tobacco sales to people under 21 in Illinois.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Rauner,

In 2011 the Centers for Disease Control estimated 17.5% of Illinois youth in grades 9-12 smoked tobacco. The University of California Los Angeles determined teens are far more responsive to the effects of smoking due to significant changes taking place in brain chemicals during adolescence. These changes make them more vulnerable to addiction than adults.

Lisa Rapaport’s article “Teen Smokers May Be Hard-Wired For Cigarette Addiction” quotes Harvard University director Nancy Rigotti of the Tobacco Research and Treatment Center in Boston Massachusetts saying, “To the extent that teen brains may be more sensitive to nicotine than adult brains, it makes sense to set the age for buying cigarettes at 21 to help keep adolescents from using tobacco when they may be more vulnerable to cravings.”

This should be more than enough reason to ban the sale of tobacco to anyone under the age of 21 in Illinois. Being a state with a higher rate of high school smokers, this action in Illinois would set an example to states struggling with higher rates of addiction among teens. Please increase the legal age of tobacco sale and consumption to ensure the health the state’s citizens.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Valentin Ottone

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