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Come Friday, you'll need to be 21 to buy cigarettes in Chicago

Written by
Clayton Guse

Young adults in Chicago who are looking to tar up their lungs are going to be out of luck come Friday, as changes to the city's tobacco laws are set to go into effect, raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21.

The new ordinance was initially passed by the City Council in March, includes a tax on cigars and smokeless tobacco products, and is expected to bring in an additional $6 million in annual revenue. In a press release, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office touted the age hike as "an early Independence Day for thousands of Chicago youth," who definitely won't take the El out to the suburbs for their nicotine fix.

Though the new age limit aims to keep Chicagoans from getting hooked on the cancerous death sticks, it'll likely have a bigger impact on 18-to 20-year-old's wallets. In 2014, the city levied a 50-cent per-pack tax on cigarettes at the mayor's suggestion, making Chicago's $7.17 per-pack tax the highest on cigarettes in the nation and causing the price of a pack of smokes to soar to upwards of $13. 

At the end of the day, if Chicago's under-21 adults want to score a pack of squares, they'll have to find a way to cross city limits, which should be good for Oak Park, Evanston and northwest Indiana gas station and convenience store owners. 

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