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Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) today announced that the adult smoking rate in Chicago has hit an historic low. According to survey data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 17.7 percent of Chicago adults reported smoking in 2013 compared to 22.6 percent in 2011, the lowest rate among Chicago adults in the history of the survey. In March, the CDC reported only 10.7 percent of Chicago high school students reported smoking in 2013, down from 13.6 percent in 2011 and a full five points below the national average.
"Our efforts to bring smoking rates down in Chicago are working – for youth and adults alike," said Mayor Emanuel. "The health risks posed by smoking and tobacco use are entirely preventable, which is why we've enacted some of the toughest regulations on e-cigarettes, flavored cigarettes and tobacco. The City will continue our efforts to ensure that Chicagoans avoid preventable diseases associated with smoking and tobacco use so they can live long, healthy lives."
In 2011, Mayor Emanuel and CDPH launched the "Healthy Chicago" plan, which prioritized reducing the use of tobacco products. Earlier this year, the Mayor teamed with Alderman Edward Burke and Alderman Will Burns to pass an ordinance that requires e-cigarettes to be kept behind the counter in stores, out of the reach of kids. The Administration also joined with Alderman Emma Mitts and Alderman JoAnn Thompson to prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, within a 500-foot radius of schools. Most recently, Chicago launched CheckTheStamps.org, a website for Chicago residents to report the illegal sale of cigarettes in the community for compensation.
"Under the Mayor's leadership, Chicago has become a national leader in the fight against Big Tobacco," said CDPH Commissioner Bechara Choucair, M.D. "These numbers prove our hard work is paying off as more residents are choosing to live tobacco-free lives."
Recognizing the efforts Chicago has made to reduce rates of smoking, the American Lung Association will honor Mayor Emanuel with the 2014 Impact Award.
"Over the past few years, Chicago has emerged as a national leader in the fight against tobacco," said Meghan Miller, Executive Director of the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago. "Mayor Emanuel and his entire team have made a real difference here in Chicago ensuring more of our kids never pick up the habit in the first place, while helping more adults kick the habit for good."
For more information on Healthy Chicago and tobacco prevention and control in Chicago, visit www.CityofChicago.org/HEALTH.