Chicago Department of Public Health Receives National Honors for Tobacco Control Efforts

Lung Association salutes Department for recognition, 2014 “Local Health Department of the Year”

CHICAGO (July 9, 2014)

The Chicago Department of Public Health was honored at the 2014 annual conference of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)  with NACCHO’s “Local Health Department of the Year Award.”  The award recognizes and honors the outstanding accomplishments of three health departments — a small, medium, and large local health department — for their innovation, creativity, and impact on their community. 

Chicago was recognized for their adoption of a broad portfolio of tobacco control initiatives in just the past year, including numerous policy initiatives that were strongly supported by the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago.

Tobacco use continues to be the number one cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 400,000 people and costing the nation nearly $100 billion in health care bills each year. 

Youth smoking in Chicago is at a historic low — declining roughly 20% in just the last two years.  In 2001, roughly one in four Chicago kids smoked.  Today, just barely one in ten Chicago high school students smoke.  New data for 2013 also show the use of cigars, cigarillos, snuff, and other tobacco products is also down.  Adult smoking is also on the decline in Chicago, even as cessation efforts in other parts of the country have begun to plateau.  

Chicago has succeeded by aggressively implementing proven strategies to reduce tobacco use.  For example, Chicago currently has the highest combined state-local cigarette tax in the nation at $6.16 per pack, a comprehensive smoke-free air law that recently was extended to electronic cigarettes, and strong public education campaigns. 

Chicago also recently banned the sale of flavored tobacco products near schools, including menthol-flavored cigarettes and candy-flavored e-cigarettes.  No other jurisdiction at any level of government — Federal, state, or local — has ever included menthol cigarettes and flavored e-cigarettes in the laws that regulate flavored tobacco. When these landmark ordinances related to flavored tobacco go into effect later this year, it will protect kids, and especially minority children who are targeted by Big Tobacco’s marketing and other predatory tactics intended to get kids hooked on tobacco.

“We are proud to have worked closely with the City of Chicago on each of these initiatives.  The award is evidence of Chicago’s solid commitment to reducing the devastating toll tobacco-related diseases and death take on our community,” said Meghan Miller, Executive Director, American Lung Association in Greater Chicago. “We urge other cities and towns to follow Chicago’s lead and renew their commitment to protecting children’s health and reducing the burden caused by tobacco use and secondhand smoke.”

For more information about the Local Health Department of the Year Award and to view a list of other award winners, please visit www.naccho.org.

About the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago
Our mission is to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.LungIL.org.  

About the National Association of County and City Health Officials
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the nation's 2,800 local governmental health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities.