Panel to mull plan for tobacco age hike
Hearing no objections from aldermen this week, a city health panel plans to develop strategies for raising the minimum age for buying tobacco products in Evanston to 21.
The Evanston Health Advisory Council report, which Evanston Now previewed earlier this week, was presented to the City Council's Human Services Committee Monday night.
At the meeting Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, suggested "there might be some push back from civil libertarians objecting to taking away one more thing people can do when they're between the ages of 18 and 21."
"But the data is pretty compelling," Grover said, that making it harder for young people to get tobacco helps reduce tobacco use over the long run.
And Grover said her sister lives in the latest of several communities in Massachusetts that have raised the legal age for tobacco purchases to 21.
Alderman Delores Holmes noted survey results that show many local high-school students report getting cigarettes from their parents -- either willingly or unwillingly. "It's just like alcohol" that way, Holmes said.
The city's health director, Evonda Thomas-Smith, said the 25-member health panel, which includes representatives of both hospitals and both school districts as well as religious leaders and other local residents, meets every other month.
She wasn't able Tuesday to provide an estimate of when a specific proposal for changing the city code might emerge from the group.