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Illinois Governor Vetoes Tobacco 21 Bill

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A bill that would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco and tobacco alternative products in Illinois from 18- to 21-years-old has been vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

While the governor acknowledged that the use of tobacco can be harmful to one’s health, he said that the bill did little to keep tobacco out of the hands of children and ultimately limited the choice of consumers within the state.

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Additionally, via a press release, the governor said that “the existing penalty that this legislation removes for minors possessing tobacco is reasonable, provides the opportunity for education on the harmful effects of tobacco products, and is a disincentive for tobacco use. Eliminating this penalty will make it harder for communities to effectively address the public health issues connected to tobacco products.”

The bill had been passed by the House during the final days of the legislative session by a 61-49 vote, while the Senate passed it with a 35-20 vote in April. Had the governor signed it, Illinois would have become the seventh state to enact such an age increase, joining CaliforniaHawaiiMaine, New JerseyOregon and Massachusetts, which just enacted its increase on July 28, though it is a progressive increase that will be rolled out over the next two years.

The bill can still be enacted by the General Assembly via an override, which requires passage by a three-fifths vote in both houses.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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