Lake County became the first in Illinois to pass this tobacco ordinance

AP Photo/Misha Japaridze

Lake County is set to become the first county in Illinois to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, to 21, a change that will go into effect early next year.

The ordinance was approved Tuesday by the Lake County Board, receiving only two no votes from the 21-member board, according to the Chicago Sun Times. Once in effect, the ordinance will only impact unincorporated areas in the Lake County region.

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The ordinance was purposed with the goal of reducing the number of people who begin smoking before the age of 21 and will go into effect Jan. 1, according to the Chicago Tribune. Another goal of the ordinance is to increase social distance between those who can and cannot legally purchase tobacco products.

Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor said he was a teenager who gained early access to tobacco products through a high school student who was 18 and purchased for him.

“This is exactly what the initiative hopes to stop” Lawlor told the Tribune. “Creating that distance is exactly what this does.”

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Lawlor also pointed out that tobacco continues to be the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States and told the Sun Times the ordinance hopes to reduce that number. With other counties considering similar measures, Lake County is the first to finalize plans and put the go ahead on this ordinance.

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