VapingTeen e-cigarette users are facing some bad news: A proposed law could soon close the loophole that allows them to legally vape.

“Two years ago we made it illegal to sell e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18,” said State Senator Julie Morrison, the measure’s sponsor. “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 current law bans smoking for everyone under 18, it is silent on e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes don’t produce the toxic, cancer-causing smoke of traditional tobacco products, but 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, starting Jan. 1, 2016, the first penalty for teenagers caught smoking is a fine of $50 or 25 hours of community service, and the maximum penalty for repeated violations is a fine of $200 and 50 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, Senate Bill 32, passed the Criminal Law Committee and will soon be heard in the full Senate.

 

 

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