SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS/WRSP) — For the first time, Republican lawmakers have shown support with raising the age to buy tobacco to 21 in Illinois.
The House passed the Tobacco 21 bill Tuesday afternoon.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said his daughter played a huge role in his decision.
“We can no longer ignore this by sticking our heads in the sand," Durkin said.
Of the 83 that voted in favor of the Tobacco 21 bill, 13 of them were Republicans.
The bill would raise the legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21.
Durkin said he’s been fighting against raising the age to buy tobacco since he started his career in politics, but said recently, he's had a change of heart.
“My daughter, Caroline, who is 17-years-old at Lyons Township High School in La Grange, Illinois, told me, ‘Dad it's out of control,’" Durkin said. “Not just tobacco, but also Juuls, e-cigarettes and all those that go along with it. She said, ‘You guys need to do something.’ And I said, 'Caroline, I'm doing something and I will be voting for this bill.'"
Those who voted against the bill said they’re concerned it doesn’t do enough because it would make it illegal for people under 21 to buy tobacco, but it doesn’t make it illegal for them to possess it.
The bill will head over to the Senate for consideration.