Public Health groups disappointed by Chicago aldermen protecting cheap, easy tobacco access

Contact:  Ginnie Flynn, Vice President of Communications 630-427-8004

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 23, 2016

The American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Respiratory Health Association Illinois Academy of Family Physicians and American Lung Association of Illinois released the following statement to reaffirm strong support for Chicago’s proposed tobacco ordinance raising the age to purchase tobacco to 21 and increasing the cost of tobacco products:

We are disappointed that several Chicago aldermen choose to side with tobacco interests rather than the health interests of their own constituents. When a handful of aldermen blocked final passage of the proposed tobacco ordinance at the last City Council meeting, what they were really blocking was the fight against heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Tobacco interests are using their old scare tactics to convince some city council members that maintaining the flow of cheap and available tobacco to teenagers in their communities is good for business and therefore good for the ward. We urge the Chicago City Council to reject the tobacco industry’s rhetoric and to pass a strong tobacco control ordinance. We hope they realize that the tobacco industry is fighting this ordinance every step of the way because they have to recruit young smokers to replace those who are dying from the use of their products.

We ask all aldermen to put the health of their residents ahead of the need to sell and profit from a product that causes illness, disease and death, and also costs our city millions in health care costs. Reducing tobacco use and guiding tobacco users to services and programs to help them quit is truly serving your community.