Huntley to fine minors buying, possessing e-cigarettes

Updated 2/12/2014 5:50 PM

The Huntley village board Thursday night is expected to approve changes to the village code restricting the sale of electronic cigarettes and other alternative nicotine products to minors and the possession of such products by anyone younger than 18.

If approved, violators could be fined up to $500.

A new state law banning the sale of alternative nicotine products to minors went into effect Jan. 1.

"However, the statute does not clearly prohibit the possession of such products by minors," Huntley Village Manager Dave Johnson told the village board at a recent meeting.

The proposed ordinance amendment specifically addresses the purchase, possession and consumption of alternative nicotine products by minors, he added.

Huntley is not alone. Mount Prospect recently banned the sale of e-cigarettes and other electronic smoking devices to minors, and prohibits their possession by people younger than 18 years old.

State statute defines an alternative nicotine product as "a product or device not consisting of or containing tobacco that provides for the ingestion into the body of nicotine, whether by chewing, smoking, absorbing, dissolving, inhaling, snorting, sniffing, or by any other means."

Cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, or other tobacco products are not considered "alternative nicotine products."

Electronic cigarettes emit vapor instead of smoke and do not contain tobacco products -- the nicotine is synthetic. They also come without nicotine and often are mixed with artificial or natural fruit flavoring.

Johnson said the village attorney has reviewed the proposed code amendment that addresses alternative nicotine products.

Minors in possession of e-cigarettes and other such alternative nicotine products could face between $50 and $500 in fines for each offense, similar to penalties for minors caught with regular tobacco products.

Officials anticipate enforcing or collecting fines will have minimal financial impact on the village.

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