Turning 21 years old isn't just a milestone that allows you to legally drink alcohol anymore. Today, City Council approved an ordinance that Mayor Rahm Emanuel initially proposed in January, raising the age requirement to purchase tobacco products in Chicago from 18 to 21.
The ordinance includes a tax on cigars and smokeless tobacco products and gives the city more resources to crack down on illegal tobacco sales. The tax is expected to bring in about 6 million dollars in revenue which will be used to support enforcement efforts and summer orientation programs for all 9th grade students at Chicago Public Schools. Before the ordinance, products like cigars, cigarillos and smokeless tobacco were taxed at a lower rate than cigarettes, making them cheaper and potentially more attractive.
According to City Council's release, nearly 90 percent of smokers start the habit before the age of 21 and these reforms aim to shrink that statistic. Cleaner air and fewer moody teenage hipsters smoking on the sidewalk is definitely something to look forward too.