Letter to the Editor ran in the Chicago Sun Times on 2/1/2016

View the link here

Family physicians in Chicago applaud the proposal to further reduce tobacco use and addiction, especially among young people. We urge the City Council to pass the Chicago OTP tax, which includes raising the legal age to purchase any product from 18 to 21.
Raising the tax on other tobacco products, like cigars and smokeless tobacco products, is a proven tactic to discourage use. A price hike often can convince a current user to quit the habit for good. Illinois college campuses are smoke-free by law, so raising the minimum age to legally purchase cigarettes and other products is a logical complement to reinforce our commitment to keeping students healthy. Kansas City, Cleveland, Boston, New York City and the entire state of Hawaii have already passed tobacco 21 laws. Others are considering legislation.
A 2015 Institute of Medicine report predicts that raising the minimum age for the sale of tobacco products to 21 will, over time, reduce the smoking rate by about 12 percent and smoking-related deaths by 10 percent.
Chicago has made tremendous progress in cutting youth smoking rates. By taking this next step, we can help today’s kids make the transition to tobacco-free adults. As a result, they’ll suffer fewer illnesses, reduce their risk of deadly diseases and enjoy a healthier future. Lead the way and Illinois family physician will urge the state of Illinois to follow the way to Tobacco 21. We are ready to help all our patients quit tobacco for good!

Alvia Siddiqi, MD
Illinois Academy of Family Physicians