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Age to buy tobacco products increased to 21 in Chicago

CHICAGO (AP) — The age to legally purchase cigarettes and tobacco products in Chicago is now 21 instead of 18.

The Chicago City Council approved the age increase Wednesday along with other efforts to combat illegal tobacco sales. The new ordinance enacts higher taxes including 20 cents per cigar, $1.80 per ounce for smokeless and smoking tobacco and 60 cents per ounce for pipe tobacco.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office estimates the taxes will bring in about $6 million annually. His office says the money will be spent on an orientation program for freshmen at Chicago high schools.

Separately aldermen approved on a voice vote a ban on chewing tobacco at professional and amateur sporting events.

Officials say 10.7 percent of Chicago high school students were smokers in 2013, down from 13.6 percent in 2011.

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