Minor Update

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Minor Update

CHICAGO -- The life of a convenience store clerk can be harried, with a steady flow of customers pumping gas, asking for directions or buying snacks, cigarettes and beer.

In the midst of all that quick commerce, clerks occasionally don't take the time to do the math when a would-be underage smoker presents his driver's license. Those clerks in Illinois soon will be able to put those calculators away. A measure awaiting Gov. George Ryan's signature would require teenage driver's licenses to include a line that gives the exact date a person turns 18 -- the legal age to buy a pack of cigarettes in Illinois, according to the Daily (Ill.) Herald.

The bill could be signed into law by the end of the month.

Gas station and convenience store owners welcome the change. "It would help out," said Ron Piszczek, an independent Marathon dealer in Elk Grove Village, Ill. "They're under a lot of stress, with all that's going on. The fine for selling cigarettes to underage buyers in the village alone is $500."

The driver's license switch is one that 19 other states have made, the report said. Basically, a highlighted line listing the person's 18th birthday likely will be added above the photo. Such a line already exists for under-21 licenses to make it more difficult for minors to buy alcohol.

The measure is supported by both cigarette maker Philip Morris U.S.A. and the American Lung Association, the report said.