With Bolingbrook’s recent passing of the Tobacco 21 ordinance, the Will County Board of Health has passed a resolution calling for more Will County municipalities to follow suit. The Board of Health took this action at their April 18th meeting.
Tobacco 21; which allows no purchasing of cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes, or vaping devices by anyone under 21; was passed unanimously (with one absentee) by the Bolingbrook Village Board in February.
Back in October of 2014, Evanston became the first Illinois city to pass Tobacco 21. The following year, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published an article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine stating that three out of four American adults, including seven of ten adult cigarette smokers, favored raising the minimum age of sale for all tobacco products to 21.
Since then, 18 other Illinois municipalities, including unincorporated Lake County, have passed Tobacco 21. Chicago passed it in March of 2016. Since Bolingbrook’s action, Gurnee and Aurora have jumped on board. For a complete list, go to https://tobacco21.org/state/illinois/.
However, since Bolingbrook is the only Tobacco 21 community in Will County thus far, the Board of Health is hoping their resolution will spur other home rule communities within the county to consider this action. Home rule communities are those that either have 25-thousand residents, or have passed a “home rule referendum,” thereby giving city legislators more power to create their own laws.
“I am very thankful for our Board’s support on this initiative,” said Will County Health Department Executive Director Sue Olenek. “This is a very positive step in the right director for our youth.”
Will County’s Community Health Educators want it known that the Health Department’s “Tobacco Control and Prevention Program” is available to offer technical assistance to municipalities. “We have tool kits with resources, sample ordinances, infographics, and other valuable information to assist Will County communities,” the Health Department’s Cindy Jackson stated. “Ninety percent of smokers start before age 21. The more we change the age of tobacco purchasing to 21, the less youth will start to smoke.”
Municipalities desiring assistance from the Will County Health Department Tobacco Control and Prevention Program can call 815-727-8769. More information on Will County Health Department programs is available at willcountyhealth.org.