On May 2, 2017, the Maywood Board of Trustees, based on testimony by RHA and other members of the Proviso Partners for Health coalition, votes unanimously to raise the tobacco purchase age to 21, effective immediately.
With strong support from Proviso Partners for Health (PP4H), a multi-sector coalition comprised of more than a dozen community agencies and institutions in Proviso Township, Maywood Chief of Police Valdimir Talley, and Respiratory Health Association, the vote was unanimous.
The passage of the ordinance is a “sign that low-income communities in Proviso are organizing and using their voice to promote community health and well-being for children and families,” said Lena Hatchett, executive lead of PP4H.
Since almost all smokers begin smoking during adolescence or young adulthood, raising the minimum legal sales age helps reduce the number of youth who start smoking. It helps keep tobacco products out of the hands of high school students and out of high school social circles because the majority of underage tobacco users get their tobacco from peers who themselves are under 21.
Ultimately, this ordinance will help improve the health of Maywood residents by:
- reducing the burden of tobacco use on the community,
- preventing people from beginning to use tobacco, and
- reducing exposure to secondhand smoke.
Koula Michalousa, of Art’s Food and Beverage, attended the board meeting, along with the store’s new owner, Krupal Patel. As retailers, both were in complete support of the new ordinance.
“Smoking is blatantly not good for you and young people often make decisions that they later regret,” Michalousa said. “We think it’s a great health initiative and completely support the ordinance being passed.”
The new ordinance immediately went into effect and is now enforceable by the Maywood Police Department. In addition to raising the minimum purchase age, the ordinance also requires all retailers who sell tobacco products to post signage about the new age restrictions at every display of tobacco products that are for sale or are visible by customers.
Maywood joins many other communities in the Chicagoland area who have increased the minimum purchase age of tobacco products to 21, including Evanston, Chicago, Oak Park, Berwyn, and Deerfield.
“We hope Maywood’s leadership will help Broadview, Melrose Park, Bellwood and other communities take the same step in raising the tobacco purchase age to 21,” said Lanie Sanker Kast, RHA Program Manager.
On July 18, 2017, Respiratory Health Association recognized the Village of Maywood as a Lung Health Champion for passing the Tobacco 21 ordinance and taking strides to make Maywood a healthier, tobacco-free community.
If you are interested in learning more about PP4H and its tobacco-free living initiatives, contact Lesli Vaughan, RHA Program Coordinator, via email at [email protected] or by phone at 312-628-0208.