Palatine Village Council asked village staff to look into ways Palatine can regulate the sale and usage of e-cigarettes and similar devices.
Councilman Tim Millar (District 1) raised the issue during Monday’s (Aug. 6) village council meeting. He and the other councilmen were concerned about teens using the devices to “vape.” While the sale of e-cigarettes is currently regulated the same way as regular cigarettes, Millar wondered whether those regulations should be tightened.
The council asked Village Manager Reid Ottesen to research both issues. The village manager said he expects to be able to bring something back within the next 2-3 months.
Electronic cigarettes, which are colloquially known as “vapes,” are battery-powered devices that work by heating up liquids into vapor-like aerosol, which the user then inhales. According to Smokefree.gov, a website created by the Tobacco Control Research branch of the National Cancer Institute, the liquid usually contains “nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerin, flavorings, and other chemicals.” The site notes that, while e-cigarettes are not as harmful as traditional cigarettes, the nicotine they contain can still lead to addiction and harm brain development of teens and young adults in their early 20s. In many cases, e-cigarettes contain healthy metals like lead, flavorings that have been linked to lung disease and cancer-causing chemicals.
During the Administration, Technology and Community Health Committee portion of the village council meeting, Millar asked his colleagues whether the council would be interested in completely banning vaping and e-cigarettes.
“I think it’s something we should look at to protect welfare of citizens,” he said.
Councilman Brad Helms (District 6), who chairs the committee, asked whether Palatine currently allows vaping. Ottesen responded that there is nothing that prohibits it, though individual businesses and other establishments can ban it on their premises.
Millar noted that Arlington Heights bans e-cigarette use in restaurants, but not bars. According to Illinois Department of Public Health’s May 2, 2016 report, both Arlington Heights and Schaumburg have ordinances that treat e-cigarettes the same way as regular cigarettes, so their respective smoking regulations apply to vaping as well.
Helms also asked what regulations Palatine has on e-cigarette sales. Ottesen responded that they can’t be sold to teens under 18 — same as in the rest of the state. He explained that he felt that the State of Illinois has more experience with the issue, so he was comfortable with Palatine following the state’s lead.
Both Helms and Councilman Kolin Kozlowski said they were worried that, given the dangers of e-cigarettes, the village might need to be proactive. The rest of the council agreed that regulations on both use and sale of e-cigarettes was at least worth studying. They agreed to have Ottesen look at the two issues separately, so that one wouldn’t hold up the other.