Six states have made 21 the legal age to buy tobacco, but here in Illinois, the legal age remains at 18.

The House voted 62-45 to overturn the "Tobacco 21" veto, but a three-fifths majority of 71 votes was needed to make the measure law. The legislation would have set a minimum age of 21 to buy cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and nicotine-based products such as e-cigarettes and vaping materials.

Opponents of the "Tobacco 21" legislation have long argued that since 18 year olds can serve in the U.S. Military and vote, they should be allowed to decide whether or not to smoke.

Opponents also pointed out the lack of a penalty for breaking the law. This year's "Tobacco 21" bill had removed penalties for teenagers found to be in possession of smoking materials.

According to the State Journal-Register,

The Department of Revenue estimated the bill would cut the state's cigarette tax receipts by $40 million a year and sales taxes by $6 million to $8 million.

Governor Bruce Rauner, explaining his veto, saw a danger to Illinois businesses:

"Raising the age people can purchase tobacco products will push residents to buy tobacco products from non-licensed vendors or in neighboring states. Since no neighboring state has raised the age for purchasing tobacco products, local businesses and the state will see decreased revenue while public health impacts continue."

Even though the attempted override went down to defeat, local governments have the ability to raise the age for buying tobacco within their boundaries.

Indeed, Hoffman Estates raised the minimum age to 21 this month, joining Aurora, Barrington, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Gurnee, Lincolnshire, Mundelein, Naperville and Vernon Hills among the suburbs to do so, as well as Chicago itself. Lake County also increased the age in unincorporated areas, while Elgin, Lake Zurich and Wauconda are considering it. Six states have made 21 the age to buy tobacco.

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