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Letters: Raise legal age for buying tobacco

Family physicians in Chicago applaud the proposal to further reduce tobacco use and addiction, especially among young people. We urge the City Council to pass the Chicago OTP tax, which includes raising the legal age to purchase any product from 18 to 21.

Kansas City, Cleveland, Boston, New York City and the entire state of Hawaii have already passed tobacco 21 laws.

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

A 2015 Institute of Medicine report predicts that raising the minimum age for the sale of tobacco products to 21 will, over time, reduce the smoking rate by about 12 percent and smoking-related deaths by 10 percent.

Raising the tax on other tobacco products, like cigars and smokeless tobacco products, is a proven tactic to discourage use. A price hike often can convince a current user to quit the habit for good. Illinois college campuses are smoke-free by law, so raising the minimum age to legally purchase cigarettes and other products is a logical complement to reinforce our commitment to keeping students healthy.

Chicago has made tremendous progress in cutting youth smoking rates. By taking this next step, we can help today’s kids make the transition to tobacco-free adults. As a result, they’ll suffer fewer illnesses, reduce their risk of deadly diseases and enjoy a healthier future. Lead the way and Illinois family physician will urge the state of Illinois to follow the way to Tobacco 21. We are ready to help all our patients quit tobacco for good!

Alvia Siddiqi, M.D., president,
Illinois Academy of Family Physicians

Rogue cops

In his letter of Jan. 31, Larry Casey comes to the defense of policemen, crafting an eloquent plea on their behalf, portraying them as political scapegoats, blamed for defending themselves against the perps spawned by all the ills of society.

What Mr. Casey failed to acknowledge is the element of racist, trigger-happy, rogue cops. These are the guys that all the good policemen aid and abet by looking the other way, maintaining a code of silence when it comes the misconduct of their comrades.

The duty of a policeman is to “serve and protect.” The expectation of every citizen is that, where law enforcement is concerned, the punishment should fit the crime. There is no justification for shooting an unarmed victim of racial profiling in the back.

Connie Bradley, Maywood

Change the primaries

I am so sick of hearing of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina deciding who is the choice of the two parties.

Let’s be realistic and have these primaries in California, New York and Illinois; then we’ll have a true choice of who the majority of people want on their ticket. The more people choosing their parties candidate the better. It’s time to shake loose from the traditional ways of yore!

Patricia Belmonte, Westchester

Green legacy

Former Gov. Pat Quinn should be acknowledged and appreciated for his humane and “green” legacy. He fought for the poor and the middle class. Quinn respected our military heroes and attended many funerals for those who were killed in battle. He was a compassionate animal lover, wildlife conservationist and environmentalist. He tried his best to make Illinois’ nature havens and parks green and pristine. Compared with our current leaders in Springfield and Cook County, Pat Quinn was enlightened and amenable.

Brien Comerford, Glenview

Hurting sufferers

For the second time in five months the Gov. Bruce Rauner administration has slammed shut the door to natural, inexpensive relief for chronic pain sufferers. Presiding over the most restrictive state among the 23 (plus DC) that allow medical marijuana, Rauner says were still evaluating medical pot and it wouldn’t be prudent to expand it now. Methinks Billionaire Bruce is merely helping his fellow mega rich in the drug industry keep the profits from wildly expensive and harmful prescription drugs rolling into their bloated money belts. Even the punky QB, Jim McMahon, suffering debilitating chronic pain from 15 years of football sacks, had to move to Arizona to get the natural stuff that has replaced his 100 per month synthetic pill habit to bring pain relief.

Besides pain relief, Punky QB has a clearer mind. Illinois sufferers of autism, osteoarthritis and irritable bowel also have to flee the Land of Lincoln to get cheap, natural relief. Rauner pooh-poohs the 70 percent of Illinoisans supporting medical marijuana expansion, and the Illinois Medical Marijuana Advisory Board, which has green lighted expansion for the aforementioned conditions.

Walt Zlotow, Glen Ellyn

Call for action

I appreciate the Jan. 26 editorial “Stop the Shootings in Chicago.” This sad, and unfortunately, daily occurrence of continuing gun violence in Chicago is a blatant call for action. I agree with your assessment about the city officials, police department, gun laws, education and jobs all being necessary components for change.

As a member of the Chicago Action Team for the Peace Alliance I would like to encourage support for the Youth Promise Act, S:1770 and HR:2197. This is a bipartisan bill that would provide funding specifically focused on violence prevention and intervention strategies. The education of these programs for families, schools, police, city and state officials would go further in creating a safer Chicago. Nearly 60% of boys classified as bullies in grades six through nine were convicted of at least one crime by age 24, and 40 percent had three or more convictions.

The state of Pennsylvania tried a program similar to YPA and saved $5 for every $1 invested. Juvenile detention became so low that a 100 bed juvenile detention facility closed.

Yes, we need to stop the killing. The responsibility moving forward belongs to every citizen. Please write your congressmen and senators to pass this bill so we in Chicago can truly stop the shootings.

Janice Hollinger, Jefferson Park