New Lenox board passes ordinances regulating vapor cigarettes, video gaming

Michelle Mullins | 2/9/2016, 9:25 a.m.
Vapor cigarette shops and places offering video gaming in New Lenox will have to abide by new rules passed by ...
Under new state law, electronic cigarettes must be kept behind store counters and out of reach from children and the vapor refills must come in child-proof packaging.

The New Lenox Village Board approved new ordinances regulating vapor cigarettes and video gaming and approved two new liquor licenses.

Later this month, the village board will consider whether to require future vapor cigarette stores to open in an industrial zoned area.

Current vapor stores in town can remain in their existing locations, but they will have to abide by new regulations approved Monday.

The village board approved an ordinance to include electronic smoking devices and e-cigarettes within the parameters of the Smoke Free Illinois Act, which took effect in 2008, banning smoking in public places and workplaces.

The village cited the American Heart Association that said electronic smoking devices pose potential health risks, and said that e-cigarettes, which contain fruit and candy flavors, could appeal to children.

The board said that customers who want to sample different flavors may do so in the vapor shop as long as it does not contain nicotine.

The new village ordinance also prohibits the sale of vapor products to minors under the age of 18 years old. Electronic smoking will also be prohibited within 15 feet of doorways to businesses.

Some people use electronic cigarettes to quit smoking and use various levels of nicotine to wean themselves off cigarettes.

Several vapor store owners said they were concerned that the new ordinance would be detrimental to business.

The village and vapor store owners should work together to help reduce smoking, said Reid Nuttall, owner of Cool Clouds Vapor Shop in Evergreen Park and a member of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association of Illinois.

Mayor Tim Baldermann said that if the vapor cigarettes helped people quit smoking, then that would be “outstanding.” However, he said that the vapor cigarettes with their special flavors, could also entice kids who have never smoked before.

Baldermann said he wants the local businesses to be successful while also looking out for the good of the community.

The village board on Monday also approved a new ordinance regulating video gaming to include businesses that derive more than 60 percent of its yearly revenue from non-video gaming related sales.

Video gaming was previously only allowed at the VFW, the American Legion, the Sanctuary Golf Course and licensed truck stops within the village, but many restaurant owners said that they were losing business to neighboring towns because they couldn’t have video gaming machines.

Trustee David Smith cast the sole no vote against the video gaming ordinance. Trustee Annette Bowden was absent.

The board also approved liquor licenses for Arrowhead Ales Brewing Company, a craft beer brewery, which will open at 2101 Calistoga Dr. in late March, and for Starbucks Coffee, 2550 E. Lincoln Highway, which will feature wine, craft beer and a light menu as part of its Starbucks Evenings initiative.