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Local News

New Lenox will now fine for vaping in public

NEW LENOX — New Lenox residents can now be fined for using e-cigarette or vaping devices in certain public spaces.

Village trustees present Monday night all voted yes on a set of amended ordinances that extend the Smoke Free New Lenox laws to e-cigarettes and similar nicotine products.

The amendments are effective immediately.

The ordinances were presented to the Village Board for discussion at its regular meeting Jan. 25, when Mayor Tim Baldermann cited studies from the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association on the health concerns associated with nicotine exposure as well as increased use of the products by minors.

The municipal code now includes the use of any alternative nicotine product — defined as any product containing nicotine but no tobacco – or vapor product — defined as any electronic device used to emit a vapor from nicotine — as unlawful in no smoking zones.

Smoking the products is prohibited in public places and within 15 feet of building entrances and exits and open windows and vents.

The amended ordinances add the sale or purchase of these products to or by minors to New Lenox's prohibited offenses and outline related penalties. Owners of shops that sell the products will be required to display signs informing customers of the age restrictions.

Fines for illegal use or possession of the products are the same as for tobacco products.

Illegal sale, purchase and possession of the products to or by a minor is subject to a $50 fine, while use of the products in a prohibited space is subject to a minimum $100 fine, according to Deputy Police Chief Robert Pawlisz.

Owners or operators of a public place that allow a violation to occur will be fined a minimum of $250 for the first offense, with additional fine increases for subsequent offenses, he said.

A separate ordinance discussed Monday will require future vape shops be located in industrial zoned areas. That ordinance will likely come to the board for approval at its next meeting on Feb. 22, according to Village Administrator Kurt Carroll.

Vape shops already operating in New Lenox will not be required to relocate if the ordinance is approved, Carroll said, but they are required to follow and enforce the amended ordinances passed Monday.

Video gaming permits extended to restaurants

The board Monday also approved amendments to its video gaming ordinance that allow any establishment with a liquor license to install video gaming machines, provided the business guarantees more than 60 percent of its business come from non-video gaming activities.

The original 2009 ordinance allowed video gaming only in veterans' organizations, licensed truck stops and the golf course.

Trustee David Smith voted against the measure. Trustee Annette Bowden was absent.

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