A coalition of African American leaders who support Mayor Emanuel’s plan to raise the city’s smoking age to 21 and increase taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco related products is holding a press event at 10 a.m. this morning at Mercy Hospital.
The so-called Tobacco Control Leadership Council includes: Dr. Javette Orgain (Illinois Academy of Family Physicians), Dr. Phoenix Alicia Matthews (University of Illinois-Chicago) Rev. Dr. B. Herbert Martin, Sr. (Progressive Community Church). The American Cancer Society Action Network, Mercy Hospital, and Trinity Health System are also part of the coalition.
The choice to hold the event at a hospital on the city’s South Side is likely in response to the fact that most of the opposition to the tax is from South and West Side aldermen who argue it would fuel the underground market of tobacco sales and eat into profit margins for locally-owned shops and gas stations that rely on tobacco sales to bring in customers.
This is the second press conference related to the mayor’s controversial tobacco plan since alderman blocked a vote on it last month. Last week, a group of business industry lobbyists, small business owners, and aldermen opposed to the Mayor’s tobacco plan held a press conference at City Hall to reaffirm their concerns.