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You Have To Be 21 To Smoke In Illinois. Will New Law Affect Teen Vaping?

Vapor from an e-cigarette. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)
Vapor from an e-cigarette. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)

With Meghna Chakrabarti

Illinois joins a growing list of states adopting “Tobacco 21” policies to combat teen vaping. Will it curb usage?

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Dr. Susanne Tanski, professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth College. Former chair of the American Association of Pediatrics Tobacco Consortium.  ( @GeiselMed)

Dr. Julie Morita, commissioner of the City of Chicago Department of Public Health. ( @ChiPublicHealth)

Ryan Kennedy, professor of public health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. ( @JohnsHopkinsSPH)

Statement From Juul

“We strongly support raising the purchasing age for all tobacco products, including vapor products, to 21 and have been actively supporting legislation to do this in states across the country and at the federal level. We cannot fulfill our mission to provide the world’s one billion adult smokers with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes, the number one cause of preventable death in this country, if youth-use continues unabated. Tobacco 21 laws fight one of the largest contributors to this problem — sharing by legal-age peers — and they have been shown to dramatically reduce youth-use rates. That is why we will continue to work with lawmakers across the country to enact these effective policies.”

From The Reading List

Chicago Tribune: “ Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs bill raising smoking age to 21 statewide” — “Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill Sunday that will raise the legal age for purchasing cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products from 18 to 21 statewide.

“‘For Illinois, it will reduce costs for our state, it will make our schools and communities healthier places to learn and live, and — most importantly — it will save lives,’ Pritzker said in a statement.

“Public health advocates have been trying for years to raise the legal age in Illinois, arguing that people are less likely to become smokers if they haven’t started by the time the turn 21. Lawmakers approved the bill last monthfor the second time in as many years after then-Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed an earlier version last year.

“When the law takes effect July 1, Illinois will join seven other states that have raised the smoking age to 21: California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Virginia.”

San Francisco Chronicle: “ Why Juul is thriving despite the crackdown on youth vaping” — “For San Francisco vaping company Juul, the outcry from officials at all levels of government seems unrelenting: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on e-cigarette sales to minors, California lawmakers are weighing a bill to halt the sale of flavored tobacco like Juul pods, and, in the company’s own hometown, the city attorney is pushing to ban e-cigarettes altogether. Juul itself has yanked many of its most popular flavors off of store shelves.

“Yet Juul’s growth prospects remain strong. The company — by far the largest e-cigarette maker in the U.S. — has a private valuation of $38 billion. That’s more than household names such as Airbnb and Lyft. And it is adding jobs, with expansions planned in Mountain View and Austin, Texas.

“Why is Juul still thriving if many of its users — notably middle and high school students — are now supposedly off-limits?”

Associated Press: “ E-cigs outperform patches and gums in quit-smoking study” — “A major new study provides the strongest evidence yet that vaping can help smokers quit cigarettes, with e-cigarettes proving nearly twice as effective as nicotine gums and patches.

“The British research, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, could influence what doctors tell their patients and shape the debate in the U.S., where the Food and Drug Administration has come under pressure to more tightly regulate the burgeoning industry amid a surge in teenage vaping.

“‘We know that patients are asking about e-cigarettes and many doctors haven’t been sure what to say,’ said Dr. Nancy Rigotti, a tobacco treatment specialist at Harvard Medical School who was not involved in the study. ‘I think they now have more evidence to endorse e-cigarettes.’ ”

Anna Bauman produced this hour for broadcast.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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