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County passes measure to fine stores that sell e-cigarettes to minors

Electronic cigarettes are off-limits Chicago Transit Authority rail stations other CTA property but smokers can “vape” away CTA bus stops

Electronic cigarettes are off-limits at Chicago Transit Authority rail stations and other CTA property, but smokers can “vape” away at CTA bus stops under an ordinance approved Tuesday. | Sun-Times file

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Updated: February 19, 2014 8:38PM

Cook County authorities will have broader power to crack down on vendors who sell and market electronic cigarettes to minors, under a measure passed by the county board on Wednesday.

The measure is similar to a state law banning the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, but goes a step further by allowing the county Department of Public Health to issue a $250 fine to stores that flout the law, officials said. It also requires e-cigarettes to be kept in secured displays.

Just like with regular cigarettes, a consumer would have to request an e-cigarette from a store attendant and show identification proving they are of age.

The law, which only applies to unincorporated parts of Cook County and suburbs with a populations of less than 50,000, is tooled to stop e-cigarette companies from marketing to kids, said Commissioner Jeff Tobolski, D-McCook, who sponsored the measure.

“They are bubble gum flavored, they are cherry flavored. They have these out, displaying them around the Tootsie Rolls and the gum — all the stuff kids love when they go into in the store,” Tobolski said. “What is the point of giving these e-cigarettes to [kids] other than to get them addicted to nicotine, which will lead them to smoking cigarettes.”

In other actions taken during Wednesday’s board meeting, commissioners awarded a $2.4 million settlement to 21 deputies who brought suit against Sheriff Tom Dart. The deputies, who were part of an elite but troubled unit, claimed Dart retaliated against them by disbanding their unit because they backed his political opponent when Dart ran for sheriff in 2006.

Dart opposed the settlement and some commissioners said they thought the deputies claims were questionable. But settling the suit was cheaper than a protracted and expensive court fight, said Commissioner Pete Silvestri, R-Elmwood Park, who chairs the county’s Finance Subcommittee on Litigation.

The board also approved a $24,705 worker’s compensation claim made by Carmen Berrios — sister to Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios. According to county records, Carmen Berrios was an administrative assistant for the Board of Review, when she tripped over an outlet protruding from the floor in April of 2007 and injured her shoulder. At the time her brother Joe Berrios was a commissioner on the Board of Review, which rules on property tax objections.


Twitter: @brianslodysko

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