Claiming flavored tobacco products are becoming too popular with children, 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea introduced an ordinance in the City Council on June 17 that would prohibit the sale of those products in Chicago.
In a mass email to constituents, O’Shea said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that electronic cigarette use has climbed significantly among children since 2011.
He also told The Beverly Review that local elementary and high school principals have told him of students using the products.
“The numbers are staggering,” O’Shea said. “It’s scary. They have had a problem the past couple years of students engaging in this.”
In his email, O’Shea said the CDC reported that electronic cigarette use among children has risen from 1.5 percent of high school students in 2011 to 27.5 percent in 2019.
He also said the CDC reports that 67 percent of high school students who use tobacco products said they used a flavored tobacco product in the last 30 days.
Those statistics are featured on a Youth and Tobacco Use page at cdc.gov, where officials warned, “Youth use of tobacco products in any form is unsafe.”
O’Shea said in his email that, despite regulations designed to keep tobacco products out of children’s hands, he believes certain flavored tobacco products “clearly target children and create a new generation of tobacco consumers.”
He said introducing the ordinance was urgent because of the three-month-long public health crisis.
“Given the link between respiratory issues and COVID-19,” O’Shea said, “it is important that we act now to protect young people from a lifetime tobacco addiction.”