Highland Park draws praise for raising minimum age to buy tobacco to 21
Parameters for puffing on tobacco products changed in Highland Park recently, as its City Council joined other nearby communities in upping the minimum age for purchasing tobacco items and e-cigarettes from 18 to 21 years old.
While the ordinance enacted on Oct. 10 can restrict only the sale of tobacco-related products to individuals under the age of 21 and not possession, the measure drew praise from local leaders, including the Lake County Health Department’s Lea Bacci.
“(We commend) the City of Highland Park for their leading efforts in prevention and public health,” Bacci said. “Raising the minimum legal sales age of tobacco products to 21 is a profound step in helping to shape positive community norms surrounding youth substance use and decrease youth use of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.”
The city currently has 17 licensed tobacco-product vendors, who must already ensure that any employees selling the items are at least 21 years old themselves.To allow retailers ample time to make the adjustments, the ordinance will not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2017.
Mayor Nancy Rotering encouraged neighboring jurisdictions to join Highland Park, stating that smoking is a public health issue.
“Thank you for once again being a leader in Lake County and setting a positive example for other communities in Lake County to follow,” Bacci said, adding that area stakeholders may contact Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center's Tobacco Free Lake County program at 847-377-8090 for technical assistance on tobacco policy development.