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Illinois legislators looking to place more restrictions in e-cigarettes

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(The Center Square) – Calling the use of electronic cigarettes an epidemic, Democratic legislators are looking to put more restrictions on vaping in Illinois.

Senate Bill 2662 from state Sen. Julie Morrison, D-Lake Forest, would prohibit the advertising, marketing or promoting of an e-cigarette in a manner that is likely to cause an adult to mistake it for an object that is not a tobacco product.

Morrison said educators have complained to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services about finding e-cigarettes on school property that are designed to look like school supplies such as highlighters and pencil sharpeners.

“This measure will prohibit tobacco companies from pulling the wool over the eyes of the adults whose job it is to keep our children safe,” said Morrison.

Last year, Morrison was behind legislation that expanded Illinois’ indoor smoking ban to include e-cigarettes. That ban went into effect Jan. 1.

State Sen. Meg Loughran Cappel, D-Shorewood, is championing Senate Bill 3098 to prohibit e-cigarettes purchased by mail, online or through other remote sale methods from being shipped to anyone in the state other than a distributor or retailer.

Many researchers have argued that vaping nicotine saves lives by helping smokers quit.

Elizabeth Hicks, spokesperson with the Consumer Choice Center, said continued restrictions on vaping may prompt some smokers back to regular cigarettes.

“If consumers are pushed back towards smoking combustible tobacco, then taxpayers could end up footing an even higher bill,” said Hicks.

That even higher bill would be in the form of Medicaid costs, which Hicks said is in the neighborhood of $2 billion a year in Illinois.