Loyola Medicine Supports Raising Tobacco Age to 21 | Loyola Medicine
Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Loyola Medicine Supports Raising Tobacco Age to 21

MAYWOOD, IL –  A bill that would raise the minimum age for buying tobacco from 18 to 21 could be heard by the Illinois General Assembly later this week and Loyola Medicine strongly encourages legislators to support the measure.

SB 3011, known as Tobacco 21, passed the Senate Public Health Committee on a 6-3 vote and will next be discussed on the Senate floor. Loyola Medicine urges supporters to contact their legislators or sign this Take Action campaign to advocate in favor of this important bill.

“Increasing the tobacco sale age to 21 is a logical, simple policy change that will have a substantial positive impact on public health and save lives,” said Larry M. Goldberg, president and CEO of Loyola University Health System. “Doing so will help to delay the age of initial tobacco use and reduce the risk of becoming a regular smoker.”

Despite recent progress in reducing tobacco use in the U.S., 5.6 million of today’s youth are currently at risk of dying prematurely from a smoking-related illness. The ages of 18-21 are a crucial period in which tobacco use goes from experimental to daily and habit-forming.

Nearly nine of out of 10 smokers start before they turn 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control. A 2015 study in the Journal of Preventative Medicine reported that increasing the minimum age for the sale of tobacco products to 21 will “reduce the smoking rate by about 12 percent and smoking-related deaths by 10 percent, which translates into 233,000 fewer premature deaths, 50,000 fewer deaths from lung cancer, and 4.2 million fewer years of life lost.”

Three out of four American adults favor making 21 the minimum age for the sale of tobacco products. Nearly 78 percent of adults who have never smoked support raising the age, and about 75 percent of former smokers are also in favor of the measure.

During the last year, about a dozen states have introduced similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Loyola University Health System is collaborating with the following organizations in support of SB 3011:

“Together we can reduce smoking and save the lives of our younger and future generations,” Goldberg said.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 94 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 133,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.