Today, the City Council’s Finance Committee will hear an ordinance from Aldermen Ed Burke and Patrick Thompson that would create a process to exempt certain retailers from restrictions on flavored tobacco sales. Nico Probst, Chicago government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, released the following statement in response:
“In what should have been a closed issue, the Chicago City Council is again considering weakening protections on our kids’ health. It’s shameful to see any proposal that would risk youth health in favor of tobacco retailers’ pocketbooks.
“There’s a reason our city prohibits flavored tobacco sales within 500 feet of high schools. We know these products are marketed directly to kids and create an effortless initiation into smoking by concealing the harshness of tobacco. By limiting how and where these products are sold, we begin to undo the damage Big Tobacco has inflicted on our communities.
“But this ordinance takes us many steps backward. An exemption process would open more doors for kids to be exposed to this dangerous messaging and would make it easier for students to access harmful tobacco products. In short, this is a move that only benefits the tobacco industry.
“The City Council already weakened safeguards on tobacco sales by allowing these products to be sold near elementary schools. Enough is enough. We urge our aldermen at today’s committee hearing to stand against this measure and stand up for Chicago kids’ health.”