Tobacco Control Successes

Respiratory Health Association is working to address tobacco use and smoke-free environments here in Chicago, at the state level, and nationally through technical assistance and policy change. The Association is widely recognized as a tobacco control leader; below are some of the milestone achievements in our efforts.

Cool Timeline

Tobacco 21 gains momentum in Illinois

With statewide action on Tobacco 21 stalled at the State Capitol, many communities in northern Illinois act to raise the minimum legal sales age of tobacco from 18 to 21.  Among communities that adopted tobacco 21 in 2017 include Maywood, Vernon Hills, Lincolnshire, Berwyn, Buffalo Grove, Mundelein and unincorporated Lake…
Read More

Chicago Quits Network Launched

RHA is awarded funding to implement a citywide strategy in Chicago to increase smoking cessation capacity in communities with the highest smoking rates. RHA’s program, Chicago Quits, builds a network of 20+ health care, social services and other community-based partners committed to helping people quit smoking.

All Public Housing in U.S. to go Smoke-free

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announces rule to make all public housing in the U.S. smoke-free by August 2018.  Previously, HUD had “strongly encouraged” housing authorities to adopt smoke-free policies since 2009.  Prior to the rule’s announcement, the CDC issued a study finding that a smoke-free public health…
Read More

Courage to Quit and Fight Asthma Now Programs Expand Reach

Respiratory Health Association trains health educators outside Chicago in its two signature programs, Courage to Quit®, an evidence-based program to help people (particularly members of populations vulnerable to tobacco) quit smoking, and Fight Asthma Now©, RHA’s asthma self-management course for school-aged children. National Urban League® hires RHA to train tobacco…
Read More

Housing Authority of Cook County goes smoke-free

Housing Authority of Cook County goes 100% smoke-free.  The HACC smoke-free policy covers 23 buildings, 1,800 public housing units, and 200 units of multifamily housing.  More than 3,500 residents are ultimately protected from exposure to secondhand smoke in the home.  Respiratory Health Association and Cook County Department of Public Health…
Read More

Public universities and colleges in Illinois go smoke-free

Per PA 95-985, all publicly funded institutions of higher education in Illinois become 100% smoke-free.  While dormitories had been required to be smoke-free since 2008, this law expands that policy to require all campuses to be smoke-free.  This law followed on the heels of several successful voluntarily smoke-free campus policies,…
Read More

First Tobacco 21 ordinance in Illinois

The City of Evanston becomes the first city in Illinois to raise the minimum legal sales of tobacco from 18 to 21.  This ordinance set in motion a chain of municipalities in Illinois adopting tobacco 21.  In the following two years, Tobacco 21 would be adopted by Chicago, Oak Park,…
Read More

Chicago Park District goes 100% smoke-free

Chicago Park District adopts smoke-free parks policy covering 580 parks, 90 gardens, 90 museum campuses, 9 lakefront harbors, 9 skating rinks, and more than 24 miles of lakefront property.  In doing so, it becomes the largest smoke-free park district in the country.  In the coming years, more than 50 municipalities…
Read More

Chicago becomes second city in the U.S. to add e-cigarettes to its smoke-free ordinance

Chicago adds electronic nicotine delivery systems (e-cigarettes) to its clean indoor air act.  Acting only one day behind New York City, Chicago is the second city to protect its residents and workers from exposure to secondhand aerosol from the devices.  Limiting public use of e-cigarettes also helps prevent smoking behaviors…
Read More

Chicago becomes first city to regulate Menthol tobacco

Chicago regulates the sale of flavored tobacco around schools, the first law anywhere to regulate menthol products.  The ordinance came to fruition after Mayor Emanuel directs the Chicago Board of Health to explore the effect of menthol on Chicago residents, in the wake of an FDA evaluation of the health…
Read More

CDC Awards RHA $11.5 Million to Reduce Chicago’s Smoking Rate and Increase Smoke-Free Environments

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awards Respiratory Health Association $11.5 million to a lead a citywide effort to reduce smoking in Chicago and increase smoke-free environments (such as parks, etc.). The Chicago Tobacco Prevention Partnership partners with 30+ organizations to address the needs of Chicago’s many vulnerable populations…
Read More

RHA and Cook County Health and Hospitals System launch the Healthy Lungs Initiative

Healthy Lungs Initiative was an innovative public health education program of Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS), established in March 2008 with funding from 2006 Cook County tobacco tax receipts. Healthy Lungs Initiative (HLI) focused on asthma and COPD self-management, tobacco cessation and reduced exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.…
Read More

Smoke-free Illinois Act signed into law

Governor Blagojavich signs the Smoke-free Illinois Act (PA 95-0017) into law, making all restaurants, bars, and other workplaces in Illinois 100%.  The law is considered the strongest smoke-free law in the country, as it includes casinos and private clubs in its list of required smoke-free venues.  The bill passed both…
Read More

Chicago adopts 100% comprehensive smoke-free ordinance

The Chicago City Council votes to amend the Chicago Clean Indoor Air ordinance to make all places of employment, including restaurants, bars and sporting venues, 100% smoke-free.  The ordinance, sponsored by Alderman Ed Smith, is the at the time the strongest municipal smoke-free ordinance in the country.  The ordinance is…
Read More

Preemption of local smoke-free laws repealed

Illinois Coalition Against Tobacco (ICAT) and partners successfully urge Illinois General Assembly to change statewide law to allow local communities to pass comprehensive smoke-free laws.  Governor Blagojevich signs the law August 10, effective January 1, 2006.  Shortly thereafter, Deerfield enacts a smoke-free ordinance, becoming the first community in the state…
Read More

First 100% comprehensive municipal smoke-free ordinances

Wilmette, one of the 21 communities exempt from state preemption, passes the first 100% comprehensive smoke-free ordinance in Illinois.  The ordinance prohibits smoking in publically accessible places, including restaurants, bars, and clubs.  The ordinance was supported by Wilmette residents Joel Africk, RHA President & CEO, and Diana Hackbarth, ICAT member…
Read More

Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement provides 25 years’ worth of tobacco-control funding to Illinois

Nation’s largest tobacco manufacturers enter into the “Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement” with 46 state Attorneys General over tobacco-related Medicaid costs. Tobacco companies agree to pay $206 billion to the states over 25 years for tobacco prevention and education efforts and to cease certain marketing practices, including marketing to youth, outdoor…
Read More

First statewide clean indoor air law

Illinois General Assembly adopts the first Illinois Clean Indoor Air Act.  The Act establishes separate smoking and non-smoking areas in restaurants and prohibits smoking in certain publicly accessible buildings, but preempts most communities in Illinois from adopting smoke-free laws.  Twenty-one municipalities with existing smoke-free laws are exempted from preemption and…
Read More

First Chicago clean indoor air ordinance

Chicago passes its first clean air ordinance, requiring separate smoking and non-smoking sections in restaurants, airports, train stations, and bus depots.  While a small handful of Illinois municipalities had established non-smoking restaurant sections over the previous decade, Chicago’s ordinance would set off a chain reaction of municipalities following suit.  During…
Read More

Illinois Coalition Against Tobacco formed

Respiratory Health Association (then Cook County Tuberculosis Institute), American Heart Association of Metropolitan Chicago (then Chicago Heart Association), and other local health organizations form the Illinois Interagency Coordinating Committee on Smoking and Health.  The committee works in conjunction with the National Interagency Council on Smoking and Health.  The committee focuses…
Read More

Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health kick-starts tobacco control efforts

Responding to pressure from public health organizations, President John F Kennedy authorizes Surgeon General Luther L Terry to convene an Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health.  After two years of reviewing more than 7,000 studies on smoking and health, Surgeon General Terry, issues the landmark report concluding that smoking increases…
Read More