Evanston raising age for tobacco purchases

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(EVANSTON) Starting Saturday, you’ll have to be 21 to buy cigarettes and other tobacco products in north suburban Evanston.

The Evanston City Council passed an ordinance Oct. 27 raising the minimum age to buy and sell tobacco, which was previously set at 18, the city said in a statement.

“This is a major step toward decreasing young adult chronic tobacco use,” said Evonda Thomas-Smith, director of the Evanston Health and Human Services Department.

The new law applies to cigarettes, other tobacco products and liquid nicotine products such as electronic cigarettes, the city said. Evanston officials introduced the ordinance in May after similar laws were passed in New York City and Massachusetts.

“We know that tobacco use remains the major preventable cause of death in the U.S. and that 95 percent of all adult smokers begin and transition to regular smokers before they are 21,” said Dr. Donald Zeigler, chair of EHAC, in his address to the Health Services Committee.

The city is notifying stores about the new ordinance, and providing education, signage and other assistance to store owners, the statement said.

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