A number of tobacco-related changes proposed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel were met with pushback on Monday as the Chicago City Council’s Finance Committee effectively shut down the mayor’s proposal by shelving the discussion just days after it was discovered it could also be against Illinois state law.
City Aldermen said the mayor’s proposal to increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21 as well as levy an additional tax on tobacco products other than cigarettes–a group that includes both large and small cigars as well as smokeless and roll-your-own tobacco–would lead to an increase in gun violence and drive small retailers out of business, according to a report by the Chicago Sun-Times.
With the city already facing issues with the sale of “loosies,” or single cigarettes, Finance Committee Chairman Edward Burke (14th Ward) said that the mayor’s plan would only “exacerbate the situation.”
The report goes onto state that the tax increase to fund a program to help eighth graders transition to high school was “ridiculed” by members of the committee, especially in light of several mental health clinics closed by Emanuel in 2012.
Emanuel said he will continue to work with the aldermen and city council to get his anti-tobacco agenda achieved.