Shawn Sahlberg of Vapors Unlimited in Lyle, Ill.

Illinois vape shops prepare for statewide increase in smoking age

By Andrew Sweeney
Medill Reports

A statewide ban on sales of tobacco and e-cigarettes to those under 21 years of age will go into effect in Illinois on July 1st of this year.

The City of Chicago enacted a similar ban in 2016, which led to a 36% drop in smoking among 18-to-20-year-olds, according to the city’s Department of Public Health. Several other municipalities in the Chicagoland area have implemented similar measures.

Some suburban tobacco and vape shop owners worry about the economic impact on their stores when the age increase goes into effect this summer.

Photo at top: Shawn Sahlberg, manager of Vapors Unlimited, an e-cigarette shop in Lyle, Ill., is worried that the age change will affect his business. He say’s he’ll lose current customers who are under 21. “We thought about going to the town hall and seeing if we could kind of grandfather-in the 19 and 20-year-olds,” he said. (Andrew Sweeney/MEDILL)