Illinois looks to ban flavored tobacco

By Nehemiah Abla, Staff Reporter

Youth nicotine addiction is on the rise, and one thing perpetuating the increase is special flavored tobacco and nicotine products, according to the Center for Disease Control.

The Illinois House of Representatives is discussing a bill that would ban the sale of flavored tobacco products.

State Rep. Deb Conroy, D-Villa Park introduced House Bill 3883, which would ban flavored tobacco, on Sep. 5.

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“It’s become a health crisis,” Conroy said in the Chicago Tribune. “People are dying.”

The bill is sponsored by 13 democratic representatives and one republican representative.

Rep. Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) is a sponsor of the bill. Keeping tobacco products out of the hands of children is critical, she said.

“It is clear that these products are marketed to appeal directly to teens and children, while their brains are still developing, and they are more vulnerable to the addictive properties of nicotine,” Villa said in a news release by the Illinois House Democrats. “Fruity and candy flavors draw teens in, causing them to form a dangerous, unhealthy habit at an early age.” 

The ban would prohibit sales of anything that has “characterizing flavors,” which is described as a distinguishable taste or aroma. 

Before the bill was amended, it did not include menthol but called for the ban of any other flavoring. An amended version of the bill filed on Oct. 22 removes this menthol exclusion.

The bill said the ban is on all flavors and not just limited to the ones listed. 

Some of the flavors named in the ban include fruit, chocolate, candy, mint, honey, herbs and alcoholic beverages. 

The tobacco products banned in this bill include both more traditional tobacco products as well as products not containing tobacco but used for ingesting nicotine. These related tobacco products are described as any product intended for or traditionally used with tobacco, including papers, wraps or filters, according to the bill.

A tobacco product, according to the bill, means any product containing or made from tobacco that is intended for human consumption. This includes smoking, heated, chewed, absorbed, dissolved, inhaled, snorted or ingested by any other means. Cigars, snuff and cigarettes are included in this section.

There is a caveat within this ban for products approved by the FDA for quitting tobacco or other medical purposes, if they are being marketed as such. 

Tim Teml, co-owner of That 1 Vape in Joliet, Illinois gave a statement at the state capital to protest the bill. Teml’s business sells flavored tobacco products.

“Adult smokers prefer flavors [and their] biggest fear is that the temptation of easily-available cigarettes will drive them back to smoking without flavored e-liquid options, not the loss of revenue,” Teml said.

Any establishments that violate this ban, once in effect, would have their retailers license suspended by the Department of Revenue. 

Staff reporter Nehemiah Abla can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @AblaNehemiah.

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