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Statement in Support of Tobacco 21
February 5, 2019
Asim Jaffer, MD, FAAFP - IAFP Board Chair

I am proud to be back here representing the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians on this very important issue. I am Dr. Asim Jaffer, Chair of the Board for IAFP and a family physician in Peoria. My board colleague Dr. Careyana Brenham stood here last year, and we are back again to get this law passed! Family physicians across Illinois strongly support House Bill 345 and Senate Bill 21. Six states have already passed tobacco 21, so unfortunately we won’t be the first, but we should not wait to be among the last. 

Family physicians care for teenagers and young adults. In my hometown of Peoria, our family medicine residency clinic is a primary source of care for teens and particularly at-risk youth. They are still developing physically and emotionally, and more importantly, their brains are still developing as well. If we can guide them through the teens and into their twenties without a nicotine addiction, the data shows it’s more likely they will never become tobacco users. 

I’m also a father of two young children. I absolutely want to ensure that they grow up to be tobacco-free adults. These are among the reasons we worked so hard to pass Tobacco 21 in Peoria last year. Taking away the temptation of tobacco can make the difference when young people are faced with these choices. We have an obligation to protect our teens - to provide guidance, and where needed, laws. 

You’ve seen the numbers. E-cigarettes - and especially Juuls - are all around in our schools and neighborhoods. Kids are getting hooked fast on the flavors and buzz delivered in these tiny, discreet packages. 

Illinois has made progress in cutting youth smoking rates, but we are failing with the vaping phenomenon. 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! It’s time to take this proven policy statewide. Family physicians support tobacco 21 and ask all our legislators to vote yes.

Press Contact: Ginnie Flynn [email protected] 630-427-8004
Government Affairs Contact: Gordana Krkic [email protected] 708-278-6921
The Illinois Academy of Family Physicians represents nearly 5,000 family physicians, family medicine residents and medical students in Illinois.