Mundelein restricts electronic cigarette sales
Those under 18 can't buy or use them in Mundelein
Effective Tuesday, you have to be 18 or older to buy electronic cigarettes in Mundelein.
Village trustees on Monday added rules for the vapor-creating devices to a local, tobacco-related ordinance.
The change also makes possession of electronic cigarettes illegal for anyone under 18.
State lawmakers approved similar rules earlier this year, but they don't take effect until January.
"We always try to piggyback what state laws are doing because it gets us a little more control (over vendors)," Police Chief Eric Guenther told the Daily Herald.
Additionally, a local ordinance allows police to launch enforcement efforts, as they do with traditional cigarette sales, Guenther said.
Often called e-cigs, the battery-powered devices look like cigarettes but don't contain tobacco. Users inhale a heated, nicotine steam.
A study released in September by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevents showed that among middle and high school students, the use of electronic cigarettes doubled from 2011 to 2012.
"With the popularity growing, it's important that we get in front of this," Guenther told the village board Monday.
Mundelein's ordinance classifies the devices as "alternative nicotine products."
Fines for selling electronic cigarettes to minors will range from $100 to $500 for a first offense and increase to $500 for three or more violations within a two-year period.
Likewise, fines for minors found to be possessing the devices will range from $100 to $500.
Guenther knows some smokers have turned to electronic cigarettes to reduce the health risks associated with tobacco. But he also is concerned some kids might transition from e-cigs to traditional cigarettes.
The goal of the ordinance is to keep them away from kids, not ban them completely, Guenther said.
E-cigs remain available to minors in many states.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is among the law-enforcement officials who have asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate electronic cigarettes as tobacco products, which would lead to federal age restrictions.
E-cigs: First-time fine ranges from $100 to $500