New smoking law benefits youth health

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New smoking law benefits youth health

Cartoon By Hannah Kopek

Cartoon By Hannah Kopek

Cartoon By Hannah Kopek


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The name is HB 345, and it takes effect July 1.
After taking a victory over Bruce Rauner in November 2018, Governor J.B. Priztker signed away the current legal age for purchasing any nicotine products in Illinois, changing it to 21. The idea is a total shutout, and it presents hope to smother the remnants of an old fight that’s been taking on a new form.
Although the initial target of HB 345 seems to be cigarettes, its real influence may reveal itself in teen vaping. Over time, the reign of cigarettes has slowly died out, but with current generations, nicotine has made a come-back with vaping. Vaping began as an alternative to wean smokers off of cigarettes, but today’s generation has skipped the cigarettes and gone to e-cigarettes first.
More than moving the deciding age to smoke from 18 to 21, HB 345 is advantageous because it makes it harder for teens to access these drugs from 18-year-old peers still in high school. Prior to Priztker’s election, Governor Rauner refused to follow the “Tobacco 21” movement.
As Illinois joins 11 other states that have raised or decided to raise the legal age, previous smokers who are still under 21 will not be grandfathered under the old laws. Although these firm conditions will prove to be difficult for younger smokers who began before the law was passed, they are crucial to cap the influence of vaping as soon as possible.
Young adults who have already become hooked on vaping may be angered by this change, but HB 345 takes responsibility for their health until their brains are fully developed and can understand the dangers of nicotine on their own.

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