IAFP Statement in Support of Tobacco 21 for Illinois


Careyana Brenham, MD, FAAFP
IAFP Board of Directors
January 30, 2018




Family physicians across Illinois strongly support House Bill 4297 and Senate Bill 2332. Raising the purchase age to 21 will reduce tobacco use and addiction, especially among young people.  This is the time to act and the policy that will work.
As a family physician, I care for many teenagers and young adults. They are still developing physically and emotionally.  Their brains are still developing, too. It’s a crucial period where choices are made and habits are formed. If we can guide them through these late teens and into their 20s without a nicotine addiction, it’s more likely they will never become tobacco users.  

I’m also a mom to four daughters. I absolutely want to ensure that they grow up to be tobacco-free adults. Taking away the temptation of tobacco with a Tobacco 21 policy can make the difference when young adults are faced with choices, without parental guidance. We have an obligation to protect our teens -  to provide guidance and-  where needed, laws.  Look online, we have teens eating laundry detergent pods on YouTube!

A 2015 Institute of Medicine report estimates that Tobacco 21 laws would reduce smoking among 15 to 17-year-olds by 25 percent and among 18 to 20-year-olds by 15 percent. We can literally change the future for so many of today’s teens.
Illinois college campuses are already smoke free. Let’s send our students to college without a tobacco or nicotine habit.

Illinois has made progress in cutting youth smoking rates. By taking this next step, we can help today’s kids transition to tobacco-free adults. They’ll suffer fewer illnesses, reduce their risk of deadly diseases and enjoy a healthier future. Physicians, nurses, counselors and other providers are ready to help all our young patients quit tobacco for good! Family physicians support tobacco 21 and ask all our legislators to vote yes.

Media Contact: Ginnie Flynn [email protected] 630-427-8004
Government Affairs Contact: Gordana Krkic, CAE [email protected] 708-278-6921
The Illinois Academy of Family Physicians represents over 4,800 family physicians, family medicine residents and medical students in Illinois.