Deerfield expects by late summer to ban electronic cigarettes in public places, with an eye toward preventing underage smoking, especially if minors use the devices to inhale liquid marijuana.
At a recent village board meeting, the council agreed unanimously to incorporate e-cigarette wording into two existing ordinances that ban the sale of tobacco products to minors and prohibit smoking in restaurants, public offices and hotels. Deerfield officials are studying ordinances in Mundelein and Chicago, which recently cracked down on underage smoking.
Deputy Police Chief Tom Keane told council members that minors have figured out how to extract THC, a psychoactive ingredient in pot, from marijuana and add it to the chamber of an electronic cigarette.
Keane said information from a recent Lake County Chiefs of Police meeting "is that now (minors) have figured out how to get that THC out of marijuana and use it in liquid form in these cigarettes".
E-cigarette smoking of non-tobacco psychoactive liquids and pastes has the added allure, to those smoking illegally, of producing a vapor that is virtually undetectable, unlike marijuana smoke, say officials. "Then they can smoke them right next to their parents, and they wouldn't even know it was marijuana," Keane said.
In states where recreational marijuana sales are legal, the market share of extracts and concentrates from pot plants has been rising, while sale of the raw flowers is decreasing, according to recent media reports.
Deerfield Police Chief John Sliozis, in an interview, said part of the enforcement equation will be compliance checks of village businesses.
"(E-cigarette sales) will be handled under the same enforcement," he said. "In those operations we would (have an underage-appearing, undercover officer) go in seeking to buy a tobacco product and/or an e-cigarette. If we can get this into an ordinance, we will certainly enforce it in the same way."
Trustee Alan Farkas reminded fellow council members that e-cigarettes are not just "another evil to be tossed out. Clearly, (e-cigarettes) do have a legitimate use for people trying to stop smoking cigarettes."
Trustee Tom Jester said e-cigarette law and enforcement "will be a whole lot easier than when we created an ordinance to ban smoking."