PEKIN, Ill — The City of Pekin has to make a decision whether to ban tobacco and e-cigerettes among those under age 21.
Pekin School District #108 wants students to lose the cigarettes and vaping devices.
The city is stepping in, preparing to put a plan in place that could cut down on students smoking on campus. Across Illinois, it’s illegal for people under age 21 to buy vaping or tobacco products, but the Pekin leaders could take it one step further, adding to an existing ordinance to ban possession of those items. Mayor Mark Luft says the change is in response to requests by local schools.
“By us doing this, it gives the school districts a little bit more bite on the actions it can take on possession, to keep things in balance on their school grounds,” said Mayor Luft.
Terry Natsschke is a clerk at Smoker’s Paradise in Pekin and says, if approved, the ban won’t change anything.
“Kids are doing it at 16, 15, 12, 13, I mean everybody’s doing it. They’re getting it somewhere, can’t lock them down,” said Terry Natsschke, clerk at Smoker’s Paradise.
She says a total ban of e-cigarettes and tobacco for those under 21 will put a burden on law enforcement.
“I mean what, are they gonna pull a kid over when he’s walking down the sidewalk smoking a cigarette, and say hey how old are you,” said Natsschke
Mayor Luft says the details of the changes are still being worked out.
“I mean, you know, like with everything else, with this being new, when you have something that you’re coming up on for the first time in any situation, it’s a learn as you go. We’ll see as we go, what needs fine tuned,” said Luft.
If city council passes the ordinance, violators could face a fine but the amount is still to be determined.