Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposal related to tobacco products failed to advance out of the council's Finance Committee Monday.
Aldermen stalled Emanuel's plan to increase the smoking age from 18 to 21 and impose a $6 million tax on tobacco products. Council members said they were concerned the proposal would increase the sale of "loosie," or single, cigarettes in their communities and negatively impact small businesses.
The proposal would "devastate communities of color," said South Side Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th).
"I'm sorry, it doesn't make any sense to me," he said. "It hurts us more than the few people it helps."
Under the mayor's proposal, the tobacco tax revenue would be put toward school orientation programs.
A mayoral spokesman issued a statement after aldermen put the brakes on the ordinance.
"Mayor Emanuel has stood up to the tobacco industry countless times throughout his career to reduce youth smoking, and he's not about to back down now," spokesman Adam Collins stated. "The tobacco industry can lobby as much as they like. We'll continue speaking to and working with aldermen on this ordinance that will prevent young people from picking up smoking, while investing in their education."