GLEN ELLYN – As of July 1, those who want to purchase tobacco products in Glen Ellyn will have to be at least 21 years old.
At their April 23 meeting, the majority of Village Board trustees voted to increase the minimum age for the sale of tobacco products, electronic cigarettes and alternative nicotine products from 18 to 21. The new rules will take effect July 1.
Trustees also approved amending the village's code regulating tobacco products. The amendment redefines the meaning of tobacco products to include alternative nicotine products, such as liquid substances – with and without nicotine – used for vaping.
Trustee Pete Ladesic was the sole trustee to vote against the changes. Ladesic previously said he didn't support reducing the "rights of young adults."
"If you're 18 and you can go and defend our country, I certainly do not want to erode your rights as an adult," he said at an April 9 meeting.
Trustee Gary Fasules originally was against the idea but voted to support raising the minimum legal age for the sale of tobacco products. He said he changed his mind after meeting with a group of Boy Scouts.
"I do believe your generation will make our society better, and it's up to your generation to make our society better," Fasules said, in addressing the students in the audience at the April 23 meeting.
Reality Illinois, the teen advisory panel to the DuPage County Health Department, has been asking the Village Board to raise the age to 21 for the sale of tobacco products and e-cigarettes.
Glenbard West High School student Maddi Bertrand addressed trustees during the April 23 meeting. She has cystic fibrosis, a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time.
"I'm in need of a double lung transplant," Bertrand told trustees. "Many of us know how harmful smoking cigarettes are to one's health and to those around us. So when I see more and more teens using e-cigarettes in our high schools, it concerns me. It concerns me because young people who use e-cigarettes are seven times more likely to begin smoking cigarettes within one year. It concerns me because three out of four teen smokers end up smoking until adulthood. It's not by chance that more and more high schoolers are using vaping products every day."
Glen Ellyn joins other communities like Aurora, Bolingbrook and Naperville in raising the minimum legal age for tobacco and nicotine sales to 21.
"This does not prohibit the possession or purchase of tobacco products for persons between the ages of 18 and 21," Village Manager Mark Franz said April 9.
The ordinance would impact about 15 licensed tobacco retailers in the village, he said.