Reilly proposes daily, weekly limits on purchase of e-cigarettes and other vaping products

A person could buy ‘no more than two electronic cigarettes and no more than eight individual refill pods,’ per day, no matter how many pods are in a package. Liquid nicotine would be limited to 125 milliliters.

SHARE Reilly proposes daily, weekly limits on purchase of e-cigarettes and other vaping products
A display of vaping products.

Ald. Brendan Reilly wants to set limits on how many e-cigarettes or how much liquid nicotine one person could purchase in a day.

Sun-Times file

Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) has a new idea to combat the surge in vaping-related deaths and serious illnesses sweeping the nation: limits.

Reilly wants to limit how many electronic cigarettes and liquid nicotine refills any one person can purchase, either in person or online, each day, to “no more than two electronic cigarettes and no more than eight individual refill pods.”

That limit would apply no matter how many pods may be in a package.

Liquid nicotine would be limited to “no more than 125 milliliters.”

The ordinance introduced at Wednesday’s City Council meeting would require tobacco retailers to maintain a log of all sales, including the number of products sold and the name of individual buyers.

The log would be “subject to inspection and audit” by the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, which would enforce the cap.

The ordinance would also impose “clear age verification requirements for both in-person and online sales of electronic cigarettes, refill pods and liquid nicotine.”

Sales of “counterfeit, mislabeled or otherwise illegitimate” vaping products would be prohibited with each bogus product sold considered a separate violation.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has promised to propose a Chicago ban on flavored e-cigarettes she called “the gateway in which children become addicted.”

Ald. Ray Lopez (15th), one of the mayor’s most outspoken City Council critics, wants broader action. He has proposed a ban on all e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine products.

Reilly is charting his own course.

Ald. Brendan Reilly is interviewed by reporter Fran Spielman last year.

Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) wants to impose limits on the purchase of e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine to curb the epidemic of vaping-related illnesses and deaths.

Rich Hein/Sun-Times file

“The overall goal is to get at the heart of the problem related to e-cigarettes and vaping. That is, the counterfeit industry and the THC black market. We want to crack down on those and make it harder for adults to buy large quantities of vaping products to pass along to kids who shouldn’t have them,” Reilly said.

“This will go a long way to cracking down on counterfeiters and black marketeers who are making people sick and killing people,” Reilly said. “Almost all of the health incidents related to vaped products are either counterfeit e-cigarettes or black market THC products.”

Both are illegal, he said, but a registry would make them easier to track.

“We have a registry at the pharmacy when you purchase Sudafed or Claritin to make sure people aren’t buying too much of that to manufacture crystal meth. Same idea applies here. We would put in place strict limits on what you can purchase. Just like major retailers of vaped products do on the internet, we want to have that in place at the retail level as well.”

Lopez kept himself busy cracking down on what he called “cyber flashing.”

That’s when graphic or intimate nude images are sent to a person’s cellphone by a nearby stranger, simply because their phone settings allow it.

Lopez wants to make that a crime, with a $500 fine for a first offense and $1,000 after that.

“The further you get with technology, the weirder things get,” Lopez said.

“With so many kids having cellphones these days, the last thing we want is to have our children exposed to these images while they’re at the library, in school or riding the bus or train.”

Also Wednesday:

• Aldermen confirmed Lightfoot’s appointment of Detroit planner Maurice Cox as Chicago commissioner of Planning and Development. Cox sometimes clashed with Detroit aldermen while pushing his affinity for “20-minute neighborhoods” where residents can “live, work, shop and play,” all within walking distance. Chicago aldermen, however, called him a “stellar” choice.

• The council opened the door for roughly 75 more smaller Chicago supermarkets to start selling liquor at 8 a.m. Sundays and forever waived city property taxes for surviving spouses of Chicago police officers, firefighters and other first-responders killed in the line of duty.

• Twenty-six years after a similar proposal from then-Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) went nowhere, Ald. David Moore (17th) proposed renaming Lake Shore Drive in honor of Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, Chicago’s first permanent settler.

• Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) requested hearings on motorcycle clubs, some up to 300 strong, wreaking havoc on streets and sidewalks in the Loop, South Loop and North Side.

“They don’t stop at stoplights. They don’t follow traffic signals. They knock people over. They play blaring music. We’re trying to figure out what can be done about it,” Dowell said.

• Aldermen breathed new life into the independent budget office they created years ago to advise and empower them on fiscal issues.

• Lopez demanded City Council hearings on the 3,100 vacant positions that the city budgeted for, but never filled.

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