21 AND UNDER TOBACCO/NICOTINE PROHIBITION HAS BEEN UNDERWAY SINCE 2014 IN ILLINOIS
Arlington Heights on Monday January 7, 2019 the village board voted to raise the legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21. Only 32 Illinois municipalities previously enacted similar laws.
The new law makes it illegal for any retailer to sell tobacco, electronic smoking devices or vaping products to people under age 21; however, the Village of Arlington Heights isn’t prohibiting the possession of tobacco products by people under age 21. Only Lake Zurich and Deerfield have enacted laws that prohibit possession by people under age 21. Mount Prospect prohibits possession under 18.
“It’s very timely that we’re doing this tonight. I think it’s the right thing to do for the health of our community.”
— Mayor Tom Hayes
“More than 30 municipalities have implemented Tobacco 21, and we’re starting to see really great results. I think Arlington Heights can be the next city to set a really great example.”
— Julie Mirostaw, director of government relations for the American Heart Association in Illinois
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced a series of critical and historic enforcement actions related to the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes to kids. In the largest coordinated enforcement effort in the FDA’s history, the agency issued more than 1,300 warning letters and civil money penalty complaints (fines) to retailers who illegally sold JUUL and other e-cigarette products to minors during a nationwide, undercover blitz of brick-and-mortar and online stores this summer. As a result of these violations of the law – and other indications that e-cigarette use among youth has hit epidemic proportions – FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., signaled that the agency intends to take new and significant steps to address this challenge in a speech at the agency’s headquarters.
Arlington Heights, is a little late by at least two years, but joins other Northwest suburbs and west suburbs, including Barrington, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Berwyn, Evanston, Maywood, Oak Park and more that have already increased the prohibited tobacco, cigarettes and e-cigarettes purchase age to 21 going back to 2017. In 2014, Arlington Heights included the ban of e-cigarette use within 15 feet of a public door along the cigarette prohibition, and prohibited underage tobacco use to age 18. The Mount Prospect village board voted to ban the sale of e-cigarettes and other electronic smoking devices to minors, and prohibited their possession by anyone under the age of 18 in February 2014. However, Mount Prospect has not yet raised the age to 21, according to their official online ordinance database. There are five vaping/e-cig stores located in Mount Prospect.
In 2014, Evanston was the first city in Illinois to raise the legal age to 21. Chicago raised the legal age to 21 in 2016.
The Lake County Board voted in September 2017 to ban the sale of cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products to those under the age of 21 with the ordinance taking effect in 2018 and distinguishing Lake County as the first county in the state to raise the age to buy tobacco. The ordinance only applies to unincorporated areas. Earlier in 2017, Highland Park was the first city in Lake County to enact a tobacco and nicotine 21 law. Buffalo Grove, Deerfield, Lincolnshire, Vernon Hills enacted the law a short time later.
Des Plaines is expected to approve a tobacco ordinance on January 22, 2019.
During the summer of 2018, Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a statewide ban on tobacco and alternative nicotine sales to those under 21 that was approved by lawmakers, but supporters say they plan to try again after Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker is sworn.
American Heart Association Government Relations Director Julie Mirostaw lobbied the Arlington Heights Village Board, along with Buffalo Grove-based Link Together Coalition, which works to fight teen alcohol and drug use in Wheeling Township, and Stevenson High School’s Catalyst Club, consisting of anti-tobacco/nicotine under 21 activists, who already successfully lobbied boards in their school territory in Buffalo Grove, Lincolnshire, Vernon Hills and Buffalo Grove.
The vast majority of the violations were for the illegal sale of five e-cigarette products – Vuse, Blu, JUUL, MarkTen XL, and Logic. These five brands currently comprise over 97 percent of the U.S. market for e-cigarettes.
The Tobacco 21 ordinance was approved 8-0 vote and formally takes effect in 10 days. The Arlington Heights Police Department is scheduled to begin enforcement in 30 days (about February 6, 2019) after sending letters to local retailers notifying them of the new law, according to Village Manager Randy Recklaus.
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