Sixth District Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller speaks at an April 26 news conference announcing a bill before the county commission to ban flavored nicotine products, citing the negative health effects for young people attracted to them. (Provided photo)
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County officials announce ordinance banning sale of flavored nicotine products

Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller (6th district) has proposed an ordinance that would prohibit the sale of flavored liquid nicotine products in Cook County. The ordinance was introduced at the commission’s April 27 meeting.

Sixth District Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller speaks at an April 26 news conference announcing a bill before the county commission to ban flavored nicotine products, citing the negative health effects for young people attracted to them. (Provided photo)
Sixth District Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller speaks at an April 26 news conference announcing a bill before the county commission to ban flavored nicotine products, citing the negative health effects for young people attracted to them. (Provided photo)

On Wednesday, April 26, Miller was joined by Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart and Cook County Department of Public Health COO Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck to explain the reasons for the proposed ordinance.

“Tobacco companies are aware that adding flavors to their products increases their appeal to consumers, especially our young people,” Miller said. “We have known for many years that smoking in any form is dangerous to the health of users, and these flavored products are worsening health outcomes.”

She said banning flavored nicotine products would help protect the health and safety of the county’s youth and communities.

Studies find flavored nicotine products are hooking a new generation on nicotine, putting children at risk and threatening decades of progress in reducing youth tobacco use, according to a news release from Miller’s office. Flavored products, especially e-cigarettes, are driving youth use and also increasing instances of severe respiratory illnesses and hospitalizations among youth and adults.

“As a parent, I am deeply concerned about efforts to market dangerous tobacco products to young people, which we know is directly linked to a rise in hospitalizations for respiratory and cardiovascular issues,” Dart said. “The time has come for Cook County to take proactive measures to combat this very serious public health issue. That is why I am proud to stand alongside Commissioner Donna Miller and I am grateful for her partnership with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. I urge the Board of Commissioners to take immediate action on this ordinance.”

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart speaks at a news conference April 26 to express his support for a bill before the county commission that would ban flavored nicotine projects in the county. (Provided photo)
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart speaks at a news conference April 26 to express his support for a bill before the county commission that would ban flavored nicotine projects in the county. (Provided photo)

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office and Department of Revenue will be responsible for enforcing the ordinance. Businesses found to be in noncompliance with the ordinance are subject to fines ranging from $500 to $5,000, as well as the possible suspension or revocation of their tobacco license. The ordinance follows in the footsteps of similar measures in several states and counties across the country. 

“This is an important step that we can take to help protect and improve the health of residents – especially our youth – of suburban Cook County,” Hasbrouck said. “Prohibiting the sale of flavored liquid nicotine products will save lives.”

According to the CDC, tobacco and nicotine use are associated with higher instances of respiratory illness in youth and adults, and have detrimental impacts on mental health and can impact brain development in children and teens.

According to the 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), over 2.5 million U.S. kids used e-cigarettes in 2022 and almost 85% of youth users report using flavored e-cigarettes. From 2017 to 2019, e-cigarette use among high school students more than doubled to 27.5%, which led the U.S. Surgeon General and other public health authorities declaring the problem an “epidemic.” The survey findings show 81% of youth who had never used a tobacco product started with a flavored product.

Read the ordinance here

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