Tobacco Buying Age To Increase In Some Lake County Areas

CHICAGO (CBS) — The minimum age to purchase cigarettes in unincorporated Lake County, Illinois is about to go up.

The new minimum, as of Jan. 1, will be 21 at the 48 establishments in unincorporated Lake County that sell either tobacco products or e-cigarettes.

Add those to Highland Park, Deerfield, Lincolnshire, Vernon Hills and Buffalo Grove — which already have a 21 minimum — and county Health Department executive director Mark Pfister says it will have real impact.

“Those that may be able to purchase tobacco at 18 still may be in contact with those in high school or in middle school, and by moving it to 21 you’re creating that social distance to reduce that ability.”

The vote to approve the changes was 19-2.

“This ordinance will specifically affect sales from retailers to those under 21, but actually we removed regulation of purchase by those under 21 or possession by those under 21,” Pfister said.

The new ordinance removes penalties for underage possession. Pfister says that’s too difficult to enforce right now, but his ultimate goal is a smoke-free state.

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