Smoking decreases among youth

Sydney Czyzon, Views Editor

On Tuesday, April 15, the office of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel released refreshing statistical information: the city’s adolescents have reached an all-time low regarding the overall smoking rate.

Instead of a disappointing 13.6% of juvenile smokers in 2011, only 10.7% currently engage in the disadvantageous act. Over the course of 12 years, the 2001 smoking rate of 24.6% has been successfully combated through beneficial implementations that have been recently initiated.

In order for this change to occur, Mayor Emanuel worked diligently to pass several innovative enactments. First of all, the regulation of e-cigarettes was enhanced through the “Healthy Chicago” plan.

Electronic cigarettes are now to be kept behind counters of any store selling them, and the smoking of e-cigarettes is no longer publicly permitted wherever cigarette smoking is similarly banned.

On top of this, flavored tobacco is unable to be sold within a 500-foot distance of any educational facility.
This prohibition also includes any minty menthol-flavored products, which are popular among many. Furthermore, Chicago has been deemed the city with the highest U.S. cigarette tax due to the 50 cent increase put in place earlier this year.
Public awareness campaigns and expansion of smoke-free environments are other steps that have been taken in order to accomplish a smoke-free youth population.

Another resource that has been increasingly utilized by Chicagoans is the Illinois Tobacco Quit Line. After numerous advertisements advocating a halt to smoking were released by the Chicago Department of Public Health, the hotline received more than 24,000 incoming calls from city residents throughout 2013; this was double the number of callers during the second half of 2012.
The number to call is promoted as 866-QUIT-YES and is equipped with all kinds of professionals available to communicate with callers every day from 7 A.M.-11 P.M. The most common reasons affiliated with adolescents smoking include influence from parents who smoke, peer pressure, rebellion, and tobacco advertisements, according to the American Lung Association.
Also, contains an astonishing statement that claims that 3,200 juveniles smoke their first cigarette on a daily basis, which approximates to 5.6 million of America’s younger generation dying before their natural life expectancy.  These numbers are unacceptable and will continue to be combated with the support of politicians and citizens nationally.

In synopsis, Chicago’s official website summarizes, “Today, less Chicagoans are reporting smoking and more are seeking help to kick the habit, avoiding a lifetime of addiction and serious health risks,” to clearly showcase the progression that is continuously being made to ensure a prolonged future for the nation’s minors.

Vigorous enforcement and beneficial law-making is the key to lowering youth smoking rates in Chicago, and these two components must be applied in the years to come. Realization of the consequences of cigarette smoking is crucial to a healthy lifestyle, and this moral will hopefully remain a primary focus for Chicago politicians, activists, and the general population.