Tobacco sales age likely going up in Barrington
Barrington is poised to raise the minimum age for buying tobacco and vaping products such as electronic cigarettes to 21 from 18.
Village board members Monday night informally agreed with the proposed ordinance amendment for tobacco and vaping sales and are expected to hold a final vote at a meeting Oct. 22. The local law would not cover possession of tobacco or vaping products -- such as e-cigarettes that deliver nicotine without tobacco -- by adults younger than 21.
"What we were looking at as far as making the possession age over 18 was tough, because a lot of other villages haven't done that," Barrington Police Chief David Dorn said during a break in the board's nonvoting committee session. "So what we didn't want to see is for somebody driving from Palatine through our town to have something that's illegal in our town and legal in their own town."
Although Illinois law sets the minimum age to buy or possess tobacco and vaping products at 18, municipalities and counties can set the threshold higher. Gov. Bruce Rauner in August vetoed a bill to raise the legal sales age of tobacco products to 21.
In part, Barrington's proposed ordinance amendment cites concern over the use of tobacco and alternative nicotine products by preteens, teenagers and young adults. The document says such use has "reached epidemic proportions nationwide and also constitutes a local public health crisis affecting the public health, safety and welfare of the village and its residents."
Trustee Jason Lohmeyer compared the recent push by suburbs to boost the minimum age for buying tobacco and vaping products to the 1980s when many states started raising the legal age to drink alcohol.
According to health experts, people who haven't used tobacco by age 21 are unlikely to start. Moreover, research shows increasing the minimum age to 21 could reduce premature deaths and preterm births.
Buffalo Grove, Lincolnshire, Elk Grove Village, Mundelein and Vernon Hills are among the villages that have hiked the minimum age.