(CBS) – If you have to be 21 to buy a drink, do you need to be the same age to buy cigarettes? One community in Illinois thinks so.
Health experts are hoping Evanston won’t be the last.READ MORE: Chicago Bears Bid To Buy Arlington International Racecourse
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports.
At this Evanston grocery store, signs warn you can’t buy tobacco under age 18. Starting Saturday, the age limit goes up to 21, when a new ordinance takes effect.
“You’re going to have some customers that are going to be upset, but the law’s the law,” says Kosta Douvikas of D and D Finer Foods.
Evanston becomes the first Illinois town to ban tobacco sales under age 21.READ MORE: City Council Committee Advances Plan To Cut Off Retail Liquor Sales At Midnight -- Will It Make A Difference For Crime?
Cardiologist Tim Sanborn, a member of Evanston’s health advisory council, says 90 percent of smokers start before they’re 21.
“If you can help help decrease the risk of those adolescents starting smoking, there’s a greater chance they won’t smoke when they’re adults,” says Sanborn, who’s on the staff at NorthShore Univerisity HealthSystem.
City officials know the law can’t totally block teen access to tobacco. But they believe making it more difficult to obtain is important.
“If I’m an Evanston young adult … now, instead of walking across the street to get a tobacco product from my retailer, now I have to go to my car and travel somewhere. That’s putting an obstacle in place,” Evanston city health official Carl Caneva says.
Health experts are hoping other towns will follow Evanston’s lead.MORE NEWS: $25,000 Reward For Information On Devontay Anderson, Suspect In Murder Of 7-Year-Old Jaslyn Adams
At least 40 municipalities across the nation have raised the age to buy tobacco to 21. Studies show about 10 percent of Chicago teens smoke. That’s the lowest level in history.