SPRINGFIELD – Stepping up the state’s efforts to curb tobacco sales to minors, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that makes it unlawful for common or contract carriers to transport cigarettes to an individual in the state who is under 18 years of age.
“This new law addresses the growing problem of illegally selling cigarettes to minors through means other than retail outlets,” Gov. Blagojevich said. “We know our youth are finding ways to purchase cigarettes and that must stop. It is estimated that one-third of smokers who take up the habit between 12 and 17 years of age will eventually die from tobacco-related illnesses.”
SB 2148 was sponsored by Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) and Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Des Plaines). Entitled the Prevention of Cigarette Sales to Minors Act, requires a common or contract carrier to first obtain reliable identification from the purchaser that confirms the person is at least 18 years of age, the legal age to purchase tobacco products in Illinois, and a statement that the cigarettes are not intended for consumption by a minor. The purchaser also must sign a written statement that certifies their address and indicates they are at least 18 years of age.
"Studies have shown that if we can reduce young people's access to cigarettes, there is a great chance that they won't start smoking," Sen. Silverstein said. "This bill is just another step in our efforts to prevent more young people from developing a dangerous and life-threatening habit."
Any person shipping cigarettes without a license, or a carrier making deliveries for an unlicensed distributor, or failing to obtain the proof of age or other certification requirements is subject to a Class A misdemeanor on a first offense and a $5,000 fine and Class 4 felony on a second or subsequent violation. Licenses for distribution are issued by the Illinois Department of Revenue to ensure cigarettes are appropriately taxed and properly labeled during shipping.
Earlier this month, the Governor also signed legislation (House Bill 4302) that requires cigarette packs be kept out-of-reach behind sales counters and prohibits minors under the age of 16 from selling tobacco products.
Senate Bill 2148 is effective immediately.