Village discusses set of penalties if smoking age increases to 21

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With the recent tobacco and nicotine purchase reforms in Chicago and Evanston, Village officials announce that Oak Park may be next on the list. Village Attorney Paul Stephanides and Trustees discussed early last week what type of penalties would be imposed pending the increase in smoking age.

There were many different suggestions from the Village when it came to deciding on a penal system for the new proposal. Stephanides suggested that the Village calls for a $25 minimum fine with a $300 maximum for a first offense, and a $50 minimum and $500 maximum fine for any subsequent offense. Village spokesman David Powers insisted that the police focus their efforts on education and prevention of tobacco and nicotine products while imposing warnings and confiscation for the first offense.

Trustees, on the other hand, decided that it would be best to mirror the ordinance approved by Evanston which calls for no less than a $200 minimum fine and no more than a $500 maximum fine for each offense. Trustee Peter Barber stated that the penal system should “have some teeth,” and that the Village needs to be serious when making a point that the youth should not be smoking.

For now, a final penal system is still up for further discussion. Village Manager Cara Pavlicek said that the Village staff will begin to write an official ordinance, which could be presented to the board on April 18 for an official vote.

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