Mayor’s Press Office
"For too long, corner stores across the country have looked like Baskin Robbins - with an array of flavored cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "I'm glad the FDA is finally stepping up and following Chicago's lead in the fight to protect our children from a lifetime of addiction."
Reducing youth smoking has been priority for Mayor Emanuel. Chicago was the first city in the nation to limit the sale of menthol cigarettes and led the fight in restricting other flavored products. Over the past seven years, Chicago has seen youth smoking rates plummet to record lows, falling from 13.6% in 2011 to 6.0% today—a nearly 60 percent decline, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Under the Mayor's leadership, Chicago was the first big city to impose a tax on e-cigarettes; incorporated e-cigarettes as part of the Clean Indoor Air Ordinance; expanded smoke-free environments to include all parks, marinas and beaches, and college campuses; and has supported federal efforts to make all public housing smoke-free. Mayor Emanuel also banned the sale of flavored tobacco including menthol cigarettes near high schools, raised the tobacco purchasing age to 21, and banned redemption of tobacco coupons. These measures have helped to keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of Chicago’s youth and ensured that indoor spaces remain free from smoke and vapor. Since 2011, Chicago, together with Cook County and the State of Illinois, has increased the costs of tobacco so that today Chicago has the highest combined cigarette tax in the nation—which has been proven to reduce smoking rates.
In April, the City Council passed Mayor Emanuel’s ordinance requiring warning signs disclosing the harms of non-cigarette tobacco products to be posted at all tobacco retailers and prohibited all free sampling of tobacco products. These efforts will counter decades of misleading and manipulative marketing techniques, give youth real facts about tobacco, and limit youth exposure to harmful products.
This fall, Mayor Emanuel took additional steps to regulate vape products, chief among them easily concealed, pod-based vape products, which have risen in popularity in recent years among youth. In September, Mayor Emanuel increased the tax on liquid nicotine and e-cigarettes, to further counter the tobacco industry’s marketing and make it more difficult for youth to access nicotine products. In addition, to counter tobacco companies that target youth in retail stores through product displays, the Mayor proposed and the City Council passed new requirements that all tobacco products and accessories be kept behind the sales counter.
And earlier this week, the City of Chicago filed a lawsuit against eight online sellers of e-cigarette products for illegally selling their products to Chicago youth.