April 8 (UPI) -- Illinois has raised its smoking age to 21 -- becoming the latest state to make the move in a bid to discourage the habit among young adults.
The ban applies to cigarettes, chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes and vaping products. Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the law Sunday at a Chicago health clinic. The new law takes effect July 1.
"Today is a milestone day for the health of our communities and our young people," Pritzker posted on Twitter. "Raising the age to purchase tobacco to 21 is supported by the U.S. surgeon general, the American Cancer Society, our own Illinois Department of Public Health, and our local health departments ... and by common sense."
Pritzker said more than 1.5 million more young people used e-cigarettes in 2018 than did just two years earlier.
"We're dealing with an old problem in a new form," he said. "Many are risking a lifetime addiction before being able to make an informed choice."
"Our kids are not part of your profit margin," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel added.
Opponents of the law contend that 18 is an appropriate age to buy tobacco, since it's old enough to vote, serve on a jury and marry. The manager of a Moline, Ill., smoke shop said he's worried business will take a hit.
"It's going to be rough in the beginning," owner Trevor Gray said. "It'll be interesting to see how much it actually affects sales. I have a lot of customers. A lot of them are the ages 18 or 19."
Illinois is the eighth state to raise the minimum smoking age to 21. Hawaii, one of the first states to raise the age, unsuccessfully introduced legislation this year to ban tobacco altogether.