In 2011, the City of Chicago launched its “Healthy Chicago” initiative. Carolyn Lopez, M.D., and the other eight members of the Chicago Board of Health were challenged with tackling the city’s public health agenda—including curbing adult and youth tobacco and e-cigarette use. At the time, the city’s smoking rate among high school students was above 13 percent—with 80 percent of adult smokers starting at age 18 or younger.
By focusing on innovative approaches and working alongside the family medicine community to counter tobacco industry opposition, the city was able to decrease the smoking rate among high school students by 20 percent in two years.
Today, smoking rates among adults and youths are at an all-time low, resulting in notable savings for the state—thanks, in large part, to efforts like those supported by the Chicago Board of Health, Lopez and the family medicine community.