Vernon Hills could hike minimum age for buying tobacco
Vernon Hills officials will review and possibly approve an ordinance Wednesday night raising the minimum age for the purchase of tobacco and related products to 21.
Board members first discussed the proposal last month at the request of Trustee Craig Takaoka, who said he made the suggestion at the behest of residents.
The measure would ban retailers in the village from selling tobacco products -- including items such as eCigarettes, vaporizer pens, and JUUL cartridges -- to anyone younger than 21.
The proposed ordinance does not address tobacco possession, which state law prohibits for anyone younger than 18. Enforcement of an older age for possession would be difficult given that people between 18 and 21 who visit or pass through the village likely obtained their tobacco products legally in another town.
"Where it would become very challenging is any attempt to try to ban the use or possession of tobacco products" by those under 21, police Chief Patrick Kreis said.
The idea also has won support from the Lake County Department of Health and Stevenson and Vernon Hills high schools. Representatives from each advocated for the age hike before the village board last month.
If the ordinance is approved, Vernon Hills would join several other suburban communities in boosting the legal age to buy tobacco. Most recently, Lincolnshire enacted a similar measure June 12. Others include Naperville, Deerfield and Highland Park, as well as the city of Chicago.
Both the Lake and Kane county boards also are considering measures to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco to 21.
The village board meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday at village hall, 290 Evergreen Drive.