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Illinois County Targets Sales To Minors

A Will County, Ill., board committee this week received a draft proposal for cracking down on the ways that teens can buy tobacco products in businesses in unincorporated areas, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.

Board member Chuck Maher proposed creating a tobacco license for businesses that sell tobacco products in unincorporated areas. Towns in Will County now are able to regulate tobacco sales to teens ages 17 and younger with their own ordinances.

The Coalition Toward a Tobacco Free Will County presented a draft ordinance that would affect 71 vendors in rural areas. Under the ordinance, a one-year license for a business would cost $50 and the business would be subject to at least three compliance checks, to be done by the Will County Sheriff's Department. A clerk caught selling tobacco to a teen would be subject to fines, ranging from $200 for a first offense to $600 for a third offense.

Additionally, the business would be subject to a $200 fine for the first violation and up to a $1,000 fine and loss of tobacco sales license for six months for others. The fines for teens who buy tobacco products would range from $50 to $500.

One issue to be determined is what part of Will County government would handle the appeals process, Maher said. One idea is to have the Liquor Control Commission, which is overseen by the county executive's office, oversee appeals.

In May, Maher cited concerns about teens being able to buy tobacco from vending machines, because those sometimes are not readily visible to a sales clerk. Under the proposed ordinances, existing tobacco vending machines could remain but there would be a prohibition against adding new vending machines.
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