The Will County Health Department said the village of Plainfield has “set the standard” for all other towns in Will County with its adoption of a Tobacco 21 ordinance in an effort to address the use of tobacco and e-cigarettes among young people.
The village voted, 5-1, last week to join the growing trend across the state to restrict tobacco sales to those age 21 and older. Chicago, Bolingbrook and Aurora also have passed a Tobacco 21 ordinance.
In a news release, the health department said that while traditional forms of tobacco use, such as cigarettes, have seen a decline, the rate of e-cigarette use among young people has reached “epidemic levels,” more than doubling almost every year. Newer e-cigarette products look like USB drives, which allow children to have an easier time hiding them from parents and teachers.
The department also said it’s more likely that a 16-year-old might have a friend who is 18 than a friend who is 21 to buy tobacco products for them, so the Tobacco 21 ordinance is important. Data show that if tobacco products are kept out of the hands of young people before the age of 21, the likelihood of them ever trying the products drops to less than 10 percent.
Evanston became the first Illinois city to pass a Tobacco 21 ordinance in October 2014. To date, 35 municipalities, including unincorporated Lake and Cook counties and the City of Chicago, have passed Tobacco 21 ordinances.
Still, the Will County Health Department Tobacco Control and Prevention Program sees room for improvement, with Bolingbrook and Plainfield being the only locations primarily in Will County with existing ordinances. The Will County Board of Health passed a resolution of its own in April 2018, calling for more Will County communities to join the effort.