CHICAGO (CBS) — The Emanuel administration was heralding new numbers showing smoking has declined among Chicago teens.
Dr. Bechara Choucair, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said fewer than 11 percent of Chicago high school students reported smoking last year.
“This is the lowest record that we have; the lowest rate, on record, that we have,” he said.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports that figure is a significant decline from 2001, when nearly a quarter of Chicago teens said they smoked.
“We’ve seen declines in boys’ smoking grade, and girls’ smoking grade, and black kids’ smoking grade, and Latino kids’ smoking grade; so we’re seeing the decline across the board, which is really encouraging,” he said.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he’s encouraged by the drop in teen smoking.
“It does also show that the policies we’ve put in place – as it relates to flavored tobacco, e-cigarettes, raising the cost of smoking – is having an impact among our teens,” the mayor said.
However, officials have expressed concerns about the impact of e-cigarettes, which they claim are being marketed to the young.
The city has added e-cigarettes to its smoking ban, meaning the devices cannot be used in virtually any building open to the public. Only private homes and vehicles, designated smoking rooms at hotels, and retail tobacco shops are exempt from the city’s indoor smoking ban. Smoking also is banned anywhere within 15 feet of a building entrance.