Lung Association to Award Mayor Emanuel, City of Chicago for Historic Year in Tobacco Control Initiatives

Chicago emerging as a national leader in public health

CHICAGO (August 7, 2014)

This evening, the American Lung Association of Greater Chicago will honor Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City of Chicago at the Association’s 2014 Impact Awards Reception at Holland & Knight from 5:30-7pm (131 S. Dearborn St, 30th Fl., Chicago, IL 60603).

Mayor Emanuel will be honored with the 2014 Impact Award, acknowledging individuals and organizations that have demonstrated outstanding leadership and impact in support of the mission of the American Lung Association.

“It is an honor to be recognized by the American Lung Association for the important work we’re doing here in Chicago to lower overall smoking rates, improve the health of Chicagoans and prevent youth smoking and tobacco use,” said Mayor Rahm 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.”

Under the leadership of the Mayor and the Chicago Department of Public Health, the City adopted a broad portfolio of tobacco control initiatives in just the past year, including numerous policy initiatives that were strongly supported by the Lung Association. 

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. 

In a landmark policy, Chicago also recently banned the sale of flavored tobacco products near schools, including menthol-flavored cigarettes and candy-flavored e-cigarettes. 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 marketing and other predatory tactics intended to create long life smokers.

“It was a banner year for tobacco control initiatives in the City of Chicago. Youth smoking in Chicago is at a historic low — declining roughly 20% in just the last two years. The Lung Association is extremely grateful to have such a strong partner in Mayor Emanuel, the Chicago City Council and the Department of Public Health. They continue to demonstrate their commitment to protecting children’s health and reducing the devastating toll that tobacco-related diseases take on our community,” said Meghan Miller, Executive Director of the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago.

The Lung Association will also honor three other individuals and organizations. Chicago’s largest residential property, Presidential Towers, will be recognized for their plan to transition to a 100% non-smoking community by 2015; involving more than 2,300 apartment units and up to 4,000 residents. The property has also been one of the Association’s strongest partners as the site of the annual Fight for Air Climb. 

Dr. Marla Kushner, Medical Director for Mercy Dunbar Health & Wellness Center and Mercy Phillips Health & Wellness Center, will be honored for representing the very best in health care providers. Through her work in the Lung Association’s “Enhancing Care for Children with Asthma initiative,” she focused on systems-change, where health clinics at Dunbar High School and Phillips High School have been able to enhance the way that they diagnose, treat and manage patients with asthma. Dr. Kushner truly understands the barriers to health care that her students and their families experience. Her dedication to quality care and collaborative style makes her a leader within the schools’ administration and in the health care community.  

Frank Keldermans, Partner at Holland & Knight and Board Chair of the American Lung Association, will be recognized for his tireless work for and support of the Association. Throughout his involvement, Keldermans opened the door to nearly $100,000 in sponsorship and fundraising dollars. As a founding member of the Local Leadership Board, and Immediate Past Chair, the results of Frank’s unwavering commitment and support can be seen in the Association’s work every day. 

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.