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updated: 1/22/2016 10:38 AM

Buffalo Grove weighs stricter regulations on vaping, e-cigarettes

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  • Buffalo Grove officials are discussing whether to impose stricter regulations on the sale and use of e-cigarettes.

    Buffalo Grove officials are discussing whether to impose stricter regulations on the sale and use of e-cigarettes.
    AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

 

By Steve Zalusky

Buffalo Grove is debating stricter regulations on e-cigarettes and vaping, in hopes it will discourage kids from using the products.

On Wednesday, the planning and zoning commission discussed options that include turning e-cigarette/vape shops into a special use under the zoning code, requiring the shops be a minimum distance from schools and parks, and regulating e-cigarettes and vaping the same as tobacco.

Village Planner Nicole Woods said in so doing, Buffalo Grove would have some of the strictest regulations in the Northern suburbs.

Only two of 15 nearby communities surveyed require a shop to be a certain distance away from schools and parks, and in those cases the distance is relatively short, only 100 to 150 feet.

She added it wouldn't have a practical application in Buffalo Grove anyway, "as our schools are not immediately adjacent to any commercial (businesses)."

Commissioner Scott Lesser said he advocates for tighter standards, especially keeping the shops away from schools.

"I recognize that by taking this position we may be outside the norm," Lesser added. "This is a new product. I have seen its use expand exponentially among not only adults, but kids."

Community Development Director Christopher Stilling said the village is no stranger to setting precedents -- its 2006 Clean Air Ordinance bans smoking establishments like cigar lounges and hookah lounges.

"We're one of the few communities that actually has a more restrictive ordinance than the state statute," he said.

However, the ordinance does not address e-cigarettes.

"This is an opportunity for us to tighten those standards, and I'm not sure whether I would let that opportunity pass," Lesser added.

The village's public health commission will consider stricter standards on Feb. 10. The planning and zoning commission will hold a public hearing on it Feb. 17.

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