E-CigaretteState Senator Julie Morrison believes that Illinois law has a loophole that needs to be fixed: it's illegal to provide minors with e-cigarettes and other tobacco-free nicotine products, but it's not illegal for children to have them.

"Two years ago we made it illegal to sell e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18," Morrison said. "It's common sense that if it's illegal to sell these products to kids, it should be illegal for kids to have them."

 Though e-cigarettes don't produce the toxic, cancer-causing smoke of traditional tobacco products, they still pose real health risks. Nicotine is an addictive chemical that can act as an immunosuppressive. It can affect fetal brain development. It also can permanently alter growth and function of the nervous system, potentially leading to depression and anxiety. The long-term health effects of various other chemicals in e-cigarettes have not yet been thoroughly evaluated.

In Illinois, it is already illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to possess cigarettes, cigars and all other forms of tobacco. The penalty for the first violation is a fine of $25 or 15 hours of community service, and the maximum penalty for repeated violations is a fine of $100 and 30 hours of community service.

Morrison's plan would impose the same penalties for the possession of e-cigarettes and other alternative nicotine products.

The legislation is Senate Bill 32.

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