Palatine goes beyond state law, bans those under 21 from possessing tobacco

Palatine village council members have passed a local ordinance that officials say includes closing a loophole in a state law prohibiting someone younger than 21 from buying cigarettes or alternative nicotine products such as vaping devices.

Village council members Monday night approved the ordinance that, in part, mimics the state law by banning the sale of the tobacco and related items to anyone under 21. However, Palatine's local law goes further by prohibiting underage possession.

In July 2019, Illinois joined a trend in raising the legal age from 18 to 21 to buy cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and nicotine-based products such as e-cigarettes and vaping materials, but didn't include possession in the law.

Palatine Village Manager Reid Ottesen said he and Police Chief David Daigle wanted the state's possession loophole closed for easier enforcement and clarity to those under 21. Palatine's home-rule status allowed officials to tweak the state's so-called Tobacco 21 law for adoption in the village code.

"After the state did the Tobacco 21, I don't really know why they did it where you can't sell to anybody and you can't buy it if you're under 21, but they stayed silent on possessing it under the age of 21," Ottesen said. "I don't know what the rationale was behind it."

Palatine police will have authority to issue a local ordinance ticket to violators when the measure becomes effective Aug. 1. Ottesen said Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 officials were supportive of village's decision to outlaw the underage possession because it includes all vaping products.

Last year, Schaumburg used its home-rule power to go beyond state law by prohibiting possession of tobacco and smoking products by anyone younger than 21.

Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates and Downers Grove banned those under 21 from buying, selling or possessing tobacco and related items before the state law became effective in July 2019, according to Schaumburg research.

Pritzker signs bill raising legal age to buy tobacco products to 21

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