Cigarette Displays Under Fire

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Cigarette Displays Under Fire

ELGIN, Ill. -- Following on the heels of Illinois state-imposed 40 cents per pack tax increase on cigarettes, the Elgin City Council is considering enacting a few of its own new rules to crack down on tobacco sales to minors.

The proposed ordinance changes, designed to keep cigarettes off the lips of minors, are three-fold: self-service cigarette displays would be banned, tobacco sales would be forbidden within 100 feet of a school and an annual Elgin tobacco license would quadruple from $25 to $100, according to the Daily (Ill.) Herald.

The bill would allow tobacco specialty stores to display and sell chewing and pipe tobacco as well as premium cigars without over-the-counter assistance. Any of the 103 tobacco license holders that now operate in Elgin within 100 feet of schools would be able to retain their licenses.

Elgin's proposal is not unusual, said Joe Rowe, associate director of the national Retail Tobacco Dealers of America. "We're seeing a lot of no-self-serve laws," he said. "In most states similar laws are accepted" and an average tobacco license is "in the neighborhood of $100."

The extra money generated from the 300 percent increase in tobacco license fees will fund enforcement. With 103 licenses in the city, Elgin stands to earn an extra $7,725 from the increase each year, the report said.

Last September, the Elgin City Council enacted a law to fine minors $100 to $500 if caught with cigarettes or other tobacco products. Only one juvenile has been ticketed under the law, the report said. A May sting that included checking 52 Elgin tobacco-sellers and whether they sold cigarettes to minors resulted in seven citations.