ELMHURST – The Elmhurst City Council amended its ordinance on tobacco products April 2 to include alternative nicotine products such as e-cigarettes.
Aldermen passed the amendment as part of the meeting's consent agenda, which was approved 14-0.
Illinois passed a law in 2016 to further prohibit the sale, use and possession of alternative nicotine products by minors, according to the related March 12 Public Affairs and Safety Committee report. As defined, these products do not consist of or contain tobacco, but they provide for the ingestion of nicotine by chewing, smoking, absorbing, dissolving, inhaling, snorting, sniffing or other means.
Prior to the amendment, Elmhurst's municipal code did not regulate alternative nicotine products or tobacco accessories as current state statute does, the report stated.
Previously, if an Elmhurst police officer were to find a minor in possession of an e-cigarette that was found to be sold by a store in Elmhurst, the officer would have to write a state violation ticket, which would go to DuPage County Circuit Court because Elmhurst would have to default to enforcing the state law, Elmhurst Deputy Police Chief Mike McLean previously told Suburban Life. Now, a local ordinance citation can be issued for an e-cigarette, and penalties can be handled locally because Elmhurst has a local ordinance.
Local law enforcement can decide whether the incident is best handled as a state criminal violation or a local civil violation, McLean said. The case also can be handled through Elmhurst's juvenile peer jury program, in which juveniles perform service to benefit the community, he said.