PP4H's Tobacco-free Living Hub continues to work at the state and local levels to educate legislators about the importance of Tobacco 21 policies. Most recently, the Hub partnered with Proviso students in an effort to build support for Tobacco 21 in Cook County. On November 14th, students from Proviso West High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) club, testified at the Cook County board meeting about Tobacco 21. Cecelia Salas and Arely Roa traveled to Chicago to share their experiences as high school students who have seen firsthand the effects of e-cigarette and tobacco use among their peers and to encourage the Board to consider adopting a Tobacco 21 policy in the future. Prior to the meeting, Cecelia and Arely met with Commissioner Boykin, the bill’s sponsor, to discuss Tobacco 21 and learn more about the legislative process. The students were accompanied by Karen Sassetti, Proviso West’s SADD club sponsor, and Robyn Block, the Illinois SADD State Coordinator.
After their testimony, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Commissioner Larry Suffredin each thanked the students for speaking and recognized the importance of including the teens’ perspective. Unfortunately, the Tobacco 21 legislation did not pass out of committee prior to the full board meeting, so the legislation was not presented for a vote before the full board. However, Commissioner Suffredin shared that he is committed to reintroducing the bill after the new board begins its term in December.
The Nov. 6 Election Day was an important day for tobacco-free living policies in Broadview and Melrose Park! Voters were asked to vote on two separate referenda regarding tobacco products.
A referendum in Broadview asked, “Should the minimum age to purchase tobacco products in the State of Illinois be increased from eighteen (18) years of age to twenty-one (21) years of age?” Broadview residents voted overwhelmingly in favor, with 81% voting in support and 19% against. Broadview is not a home-rule community, so they are unable to pass a local Tobacco 21 policy for the Village. Residents’ support for a statewide policy shows the need for Tobacco 21 policies at the county-level and state-level that cover those municipalities unable to pass legislation on their own.
Additionally, Melrose Park included a referendum on their ballot asking, “Given the increased use of vaping products by persons under the age of eighteen (18) years old, should the Village of Melrose Park prohibit the sale of compact vaping devices within the Village of Melrose Park limits?” The referendum recognized that youth are using e-cigarettes at increasingly higher rates, and that something must be done to address this growing issue. 74% of voters voted in favor and 26% voted against.
These referenda show strong community support among Broadview and Melrose Park residents for policies that limit youth access to tobacco products. We will continue to share information about strong community support for these policies as we work to educate legislators about how Tobacco 21 policies reduce tobacco use and the burden tobacco use places on communities.
The Cook County Legislation and Intergovernmental Relations Committee is scheduled to vote on Tobacco 21 at their next meeting on Wednesday, November 14th
The Tobacco-free Living Hub needs your help!
As you may have heard, a Tobacco 21 bill passed the Illinois Senate and House but was vetoed by the Governor in August. But that doesn’t mean our work is done! Next Wednesday, the Cook County Legislation and Intergovernmental Relations Committee is scheduled to vote on a Tobacco 21 policy for Suburban Cook County. This legislation would include Proviso Township. We need your support to let the committee know that this legislation is important!
Contact your Commissioner by clicking here, and let them know why you think Tobacco 21 is an important policy that will save lives!
Young adulthood is a critical age for smoking initiation with 95% of smokers starting before age 21. We can limit youth access to tobacco by raising the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21. Preventing smoking means fewer long-term smokers, reducing the overall smoking rates, saving lives and saving money. Let the Cook County Board know that Tobacco 21 will save lives and save the county millions in future health care costs.
If you have any questions, reach out to Lesli at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-628-0208.
Respiratory Health Association
Tobacco-Free Living (TFL)
Partnering with the community to take a stand against tobacco and reduce tobacco use, exposure to secondhand smoke, and the poor health outcomes associated with tobacco use.
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