Bartlett considers expanding rules on vaping, electronic cigarettes

The Bartlett village board this week considered changing the age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21, while amending ordinances to include vaping or electronic cigarettes.

Updates would also prohibit anyone under 21 from using tobacco or vaping products on school properties.

The Bartlett Smoke and Vape-free Ordinance would allow the village more control over alternative nicotine products and electronic cigarettes, officials said.

In July, the Tobacco 21 law, prohibiting sale and purchase of tobacco and vaping products to people under 21, went into effect in Illinois.

"The issue with that law is that it didn't prohibit the possession of tobacco products by anyone under the age of 21," Deputy Police Chief Geoffrey Pretkelis said during Tuesday's committee of the whole meeting.

The police department recommended the ordinance updates after examining village rules. They looked into revising the law to include village-owned buildings and property, excluding golf courses and outdoor areas, Pretkelis said.

The state recently revised the smoke-free act to allow home-rule municipalities to regulate smoking in public places as long as it isn't less restrictive than the state law, he said.

The changes could allow police to issue citations.

"(Previously) we just had to report it, and there was no enforcement action," Pretkelis said.

While the changes would prohibit smoking or vaping in places of employment and all public buildings, it does not restrict outdoor areas.

Trustee Adam Hopkins said the ordinance should also encompass village-owned parks.

"Smoking and vaping around kids is not wise," he said.

Village attorney Bryan Mraz said the problem with that is they must include all other village-owned properties, but added staff will look into expanding the areas.

Although the ordinance mirrors much of the language in the state's smoke-free act, Bartlett is trying to take it further.

"We want to get ahead on electronic cigarettes and vaping," Pretkelis said after the meeting.

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