The sale of loose cigarettes would be decriminalized under a bill that passed through the state House Thursday and is headed to the Senate.
The legislation, introduced by state Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago), would impose a $50 fine for the sale of loose cigarettes as opposed to the current punishment of arrest. The bill is a direct result of the New York City police killing of Eric Garner, who died at the hands of a law enforcement officer via chokehold for selling loose cigarettes. The bill would not, however, decriminalize the sale of loose cigarettes by those under the age of 18.
Opponents of the bill say it undermines health departments and organizations as well as enforcement of laws by local municipalities.