CITY HALL — The City Council has voted to raise the smoking age in Chicago to 21.
The move to raise the smoking age from 18 was part of an an amended package of tobacco taxes approved over the objections of aldermen who said it would hurt local merchants.
Ald. Edward Burke (14th) submitted an amended ordinance on the floor of the Council Wednesday that built on new taxes on forms of tobacco other than cigarettes while making it illegal to sell tobacco to anyone under 21.
City Hall Reporter Ted Cox talks about tax revenue versus public health concerns.
That measure had been opposed by some aldermen on the city boundaries. They said the tax would hurt local merchants by driving customers to Indiana or the suburbs.
Others resisted the higher taxes, saying they would only spur the sale of "loosies," loose cigarettes, on street corners.
Aldermen Leslie Hairston (5th), Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th) and Nicholas Sposato (38th) had delayed the measure's passage through a parliamentary maneuver last month, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel portrayed it as a public health issue, saying, "You can delay what we're gonna do, but you can't defeat it, because the votes are there."
Burke submitted an amended ordinance Wednesday changing the tax rates, amending a proposal to set a "price floor" for packs of cigarettes and allowing 18-year-olds to sell, if not smoke, cigarettes.
That passed without additional debate by a 35-10 vote.
Those voting against it were Hairston, Sadlowski Garza, Sposato and Aldermen David Moore (17th), Matt O'Shea (19th), Howard Brookins Jr. (21st), Jason Ervin (28th), Christopher Taliaferro (29th), Anthony Napolitano (41st) and Tom Tunney (44th).
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