On Aug. 24, Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed Senate Bill 2332, legislation that would have substantially reduced youth smoking and saved the state $2 billion dollars in future health care costs by raising the tobacco purchase age to 21 from 18 (“Rauner snuffs out bill to raise smoking age to 21“).

In doing so, the governor has taken a firm stance against protecting our youth, reducing the economic burden of tobacco use and building a more sustainable future for Illinois.

Rauner’s objections to this common-sense policy are based on falsehoods and the very language Big Tobacco has used to peddle cancer and poison our communities for decades.

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The first claim is that the bill will cause Illinois revenue losses. This argument places a higher value on money than young lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year tobacco use costs Illinois $5.49 billion in health care costs and $5.27 billion in lost productivity. Tobacco 21 would dramatically reduce those costs by preventing lifelong addictions.

The second claim is that purchase, use and possession (PUP) penalties are an effective deterrent to youth smoking, and SB 2332’s removal of these penalties “will make it harder for communities to effectively address the public health issues connected to tobacco products.” Penalizing children has not been proven to be an effective strategy for reducing youth smoking. PUP laws are difficult to enforce and shift the blame away from the tobacco industry’s irresponsible marketing to youth and retailers’ irresponsible sales.

By vetoing Senate Bill 2332, Governor Rauner has failed to protect the children of Illinois.

Steven L. Victor, board chair
Joel Africk, president and CEO
Respiratory Health Association

Did Roseanne say it first? 

I’ve heard the phrases “monkey around” and “mess this up,” but I’ve never heard the expression “monkey this up” (“Racism looms large in Florida’s governor’s race” — Wednesday)

Too bad Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis didn’t run his phrase by Roseanne Barr before he said it.

Bob Barth, Edgewater

When will GOP stand up to Trump?

Let me be clear: I am not now nor will I ever be a fan of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. I disagree with the majority of the policies he has put in place. However, how does President Donald Trump have the hubris to stoop so low as to comment on where Sessions was educated, criticize his speaking voice and denigrate him personally almost on a daily basis?

What do any of these things have to do with how well Sessions performs the job that Trump, himself, appointed him to? Oh wait, he’s not protecting Trump? Not his job.

Trump’s stated comments regarding firing or replacing Sessions should have the Republican majority in Congress up in arms about Trump doing yet another thing in his effort to quash the Mueller investigation.

Yet, once again the Republicans in Congress not only don’t speak up for their longtime colleague but instead walk in lock step with this president. What is it going to take for them to speak up, stand up and speak truth to power? Is remaining in elected office more important than Congress being a check on the president? I am sickened by their silence and lack of character.

We, the people, who elected these men and women, should remind them vociferously via tweet, text, letter, email and phone calls that their job is to work for us, not to kowtow to this know it all fool, who, in reality, could be replaced by an intelligent child.

Barb Minarik, Logan Square