The American Heart Association Applauds Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Tobacco Proposals

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

Courtesy of The American Heart Association

The American Heart Association applauds Mayor Emanuel’s latest proposals intended to curb tobacco use in Chicago. We strongly believe that, if enacted, these measures will make our community healthier. Evidence shows that policies such as increasing the cost of tobacco and raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products do work as intended. The Mayor’s proposals will effectively discourage people – and in particular young people – from picking up or continuing these deadly habits.

We are especially pleased to see the proposal to limit the sale of tobacco products to people 21 and older. Since the vast majority of smokers start before the age of 21, the prestigious national Institute of Medicine estimates that raising the purchase age for tobacco products to 21 would reduce the initiation of smoking by as much as 25 percent. We are also encouraged by the developments in the city of Evanston, which raised the age to purchase all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to age 21 in October of 2014. There was no public opposition to this ordinance and there has been wide-spread compliance among local retailers. We anticipate a similarly positive outcome in Chicago.

“We see that most people, even smokers, generally support our efforts to deny tobacco companies the easy opportunity to hook new, young customers to replace those killed by tobacco use,” said Dr. Timothy Sanborn, a cardiologist who serves as vice-chairman of the AHA’s Illinois Advocacy Committee. “Most of my patients who ever smoked wish they had never started. We are hopeful that the Chicago City Council will move quickly to join the growing list of cities with Tobacco 21 policies to protect our youth from access to harmful products and prevent a life-long addictive and deadly habit.”

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