Recently a few cities and states have made the move to increase the age people are allowed to buy cigarettes and it looks like Illinois might be next. Many studies suggest that if it is harder for a minor to buy cigarettes, the likeliness of them ever picking up the habit decreases. This is what Chicago Senator John Mulroe is counting on because right now, “(smoking) costs our state, privately and publicly, over $5 billion annually to treat smoking-related illnesses,” (Zimmerman 2016). Of course, there are also studies that claim the opposite: that minors can still access cigarettes regardless of what the law says.
This counter-claim makes sense considering the rising popularity of e-cigs and vaping. In November 2015, the Chicago City Council City Council, “passed an ordinance to make Chicago the first large city in the country to tax e-cigarette liquid,” and they have, “banned the sale of flavored tobacco products,” near schools (Gurciullo 2015). Later in December, Mayor Rahm Emmanual – an advocate for non-smoking among teens and young adults – helped launch a campaign against vaping. It targeted younger generations and hoped to combat the “Marlboro Man” effect from the 1950’s.
Another tactic the city is using to deter younger generations from smoking is the new ban on smokeless tobacco at sports arenas. The City Council banned these products just a few weeks ago because of the fear that people will try to,”mimick their sports heroes,” (CBS 2016). Their hope is that, like banning vaping and enforcing new age restrictions, this ban will increase the health of the city as a whole. Of course, only time will tell if these new rules did anything for public health considering that Chicago is still a big, polluted city.
*Hint hint UIC*