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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:00pm
Tue Feb 23, 2016

Debate Heats Up Over Proposed Chicago Tobacco Ordinance

Some Chicago aldermen, small business owners and retail lobbyists want Mayor Rahm Emanuel to reconsider his tobacco tax proposal, saying the plan would adversely affect local businesses and neighborhoods, including those already impacted by black-market sales of “loosie” cigarettes.

But a coalition of health organizations is firing back, calling on the city council to “reject the tobacco industry’s rhetoric and to pass a strong tobacco control ordinance.”

Debate rages on over Emanuel’s proposal to increase the smoking age in Chicago from 18 to 21 and impose a $6 million tax on non-cigarette tobacco products, with the revenue going in part toward Chicago Public Schools orientation programs. The plan is aimed at preventing “young people from picking up smoking, while investing in their education,” according to the administration.

Quick Hit
by Michael Joyce
2:54pm
Mon Feb 22, 2016

Flint Water Crisis Indicative Of Larger Problem Facing Low-Income Communities

Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI,5) was in Chicago this weekend, where he held an open discussion about the Flint water crisis, leading to a very spirited debate on the accountability of government and the risks facing under-served communities in America.

The town of Flint, Michigan, made national headlines when high levels of lead were found in its water supply. It is estimated that up to 9,000 children could have been exposed to the contaminated water. Exposure to lead at a young age is known to result in developmental problems for children. The town is also dealing with an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease, which could possibly be linked to the lead-laden water pipes.

Abrar Quader, director of Government and Community Partnerships for the Compassionate Care Network, told Progress Illinois the issues that led to the Flint water crisis could be repeated wherever there is old infrastructure.

“There are communities like Flint all across America,” said Quader. “If we don’t address it from a public health perspective, it could become a national epidemic.”

“What’s happening in Flint, what’s happening on the South Side of Chicago, what’s happening in all underserved communities, there’s a link. We need to connect the dots,” Quader added.

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