Soon, Northwestern students under the age of 21 could be charged with a criminal offense for possessing tobacco around their college. Last night, the Evanston Human Services Committee voted unanimously in favor of raising the minimum age to purchase and possess tobacco to 21, up from 18.
That vote means the measure now moves to the Evanston City Council.
If approved, Evanston would become the first city in Illinois to implement such a measure. Those caught selling tobacco to those under the age of 21 would face a fine up to $500 and would risk losing their license to sell tobacco, while those under 20 and under would be issued tickets for simply possessing tobacco. Currently, the law only punishes those 17 and younger for possession.
Evanston is located in the northeastern part of the state, 12 miles north of Chicago and bordering Lake Michigan, with a population of 75,000. It is most noted for being home to Northwestern University.