Proviso Partners for Health celebrate Village of Maywood’s Tobacco 21 Ordinance

In the first victory of a broad-based initiative to reduce tobacco use, Proviso Partners for Health (PP4H)’s proposal to increase the tobacco purchase age from 18 to 21 was unanimously approved by the Maywood Village Board on Tuesday, May 2, 2017.

Since almost all smokers begin smoking during adolescence or young adulthood, raising the minimum legal sales age helps reduce the number of youth who start smoking.

PP4H is a multi-sector coalition comprised of Loyola University Health System, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, as well as Proviso-Leyden Community Action, Proviso East High School, Respiratory Health Association, Quinn Community Center, Green Business Network and more than a dozen other community and social service agencies and businesses.

Lena Hatchett, executive lead of PP4H and assistant professor of Community and University Partnerships at Loyola University Chicago, oversees the coalition’s work, which is focused on bringing health equity to local residents by listening to and addressing their concerns. PP4H invests in youth opportunities to reduce childhood obesity and tobacco use.

“PP4H provides a forum in which community leaders and members can work together to find solutions to health problems,” said Hatchett. “Thanks to strong support from Respiratory Health Association, the trustees knew their action would have immediate and long-lasting results for Maywood’s youth.”

Local parent Christopher Epps and students from Proviso Math & Science Academy joined Lainie Sanker, program manager of Respiratory Health Association, in advocating for the tobacco age ordinance at the village board meeting.

“We hope Maywood’s leadership will help Broadview, Melrose Park, Bellwood and other communities take the same step in raising the tobacco purchase age to 21,” said Sanker.

Koula Michalousa, of Art’s Food and Beverage, attended the meeting along with the store’s new owner, Krupal Patel. As retailers, both were in complete support of the new ordinance.

“Smoking is blatantly not good for you and young people often make decisions that they later regret,” Michalousa said. “We think it’s a great health initiative and completely support the ordinance being passed.”

Proviso Partners for Health is funded by a $2.5 million Transforming Communities Initiative (TCI) grant from Trinity Health, Loyola University Health System is a member of Trinity Health. Other grant initiatives include expanding school wellness committees and policies, active recess, community gardens, establishing a farmstand and increasing park usage.

Maywood joins Chicago, Evanston, Oak Park, Highland Park, Deerfield and Naperville in establishing this important public health protection. PP4H and Respiratory Health Association encourages communities across the state to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21 and continues to advocate for the Illinois General Assembly to pass a statewide tobacco 21 law.