Northern Illinois county raising minimum tobacco age to 21

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WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) -- A northern Illinois county is to become the first in the state to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products and electronic cigarettes to 21 years.

The Waukegan News-Sun reports the Lake County Board passed the measure Tuesday that impacts unincorporated areas of the county. It becomes effective Jan. 21.

County Health Department executive director Mark Pfister says the ordinance's goal is to reduce the number of people who start smoking before age 21. It also intends to increase the social distance between those who can and cannot legally buy cigarettes.

Board member Michael Danforth, who voted against the ordinance, argued the change was not the way to go about decreasing cigarette use. He noted 18- to 21-year-olds "are not youths," adding they can vote and go to war.

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