Wauconda cracking down on vaping

 
 
Updated 9/6/2018 5:01 PM
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Weeks after shelving a proposal to increase the minimum age for buying cigarettes in town, Wauconda trustees are cracking down on people who use vaping devices.

"These devices (are) a nuisance in public places," Trustee Adam Schlick said.

The village board on Tuesday amended local regulations to forbid selling "vapor cigarettes or vapor cigarette cartridges" to anyone 17 or younger. The rule already applied to tobacco accessories, tobacco products or herbs designed for smoking.

The board also added a provision prohibiting possession of tobacco products, vapor cigarettes or vapor cigarette cartridges by anyone on school grounds.

Wauconda Unit School District 118 officials requested the change. The ordinance previously had only banned minors from possessing tobacco products in town, and schools weren't singled out.

"The intent of the ordinance is to prevent students who are 18 ... from possessing, using and potentially distributing these products to minor students under the age of 18 on school grounds," Village Administrator Kevin Timony said.

A District 118 report indicated "a significant percentage" of vaping devices confiscated at Wauconda High School actually contained narcotics, not tobacco products, village Trustee Tim Howe said.

Violators will face fines up to $750.

Although the ordinance applies to anyone at a school, police don't intend to ticket teachers, parents or other adult visitors who have cigarettes or vaping devices in their cars or purses, Timony said.

The board also expanded a different smoking-related ordinance to ban vaping in any enclosed public places and workplaces, as well as within 15 feet of the entrances to public buildings.

Widening the regulations to include vaping is a logical step that "meets the intention of the ordinance," Schlick said.

Smokers or vapers who violate the ordinance will face fines ranging from $100 to $250. Building owners or managers who allow the ordinance to be broken could be fined $250 or more.

Wauconda's license and administrative committee had debated the changes after a presentation from members of the Lake County Underage Drinking and Drug Prevention Task Force about the dangers of e-cigarettes. The activists urged trustees to regulate the indoor use of vaping devices.

The committee also discussed whether people ages 18 to 20 should be able to continue buying tobacco and vaping products in town. The panel opted to wait and see if Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation that would make 21 the minimum age for buying tobacco products statewide.

Rauner vetoed that legislation last month. Timony has not received new direction from the license committee on a local Tobacco 21 proposal.

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