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Village cracks down on tobacco use, vaping by minors
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Village cracks down on tobacco use, vaping by minors

From the Collection: New developments in Pleasant Prairie series
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village of pleasant prairie logo

village of pleasant prairie logo

PLEASANT PRAIRIE — The Village Board has cracked down on the sale of tobacco, e-cigarettes and vaping products to minors.

The board unanimously approved revisions to its municipal codes this week, incorporating state restrictions on selling or giving cigarettes or nicotine or tobacco products as well as the purchase or possession of cigarettes or tobacco products by anyone under the age of 18.

It also revised its municipal code to prohibit the sales to and acquisition, possession or use of vaping products to such minors, something the state has not specifically addressed with legislation.

In addition, the definition of smoking in village facilities was revised to including vaping. It had already included the burning of tobacco products via cigarettes, pipes or any form of cigars.

According to Village Administrator Nathan Thiel, the municipal code had not previously had restrictions, including those for tobacco use and vaping by minors.

Municipal Judge Richard Ginkowski broached the subject to Thiel after attending a conference of the Municipal Judges Association last month, where vaping was a hot topic.

The discussions spurred examination of the village’s ordinances, “which are silent on the topic,” Ginkowski said.

The judge said he was under the impression the village had such ordinances, having dealt with similar citations, and had assumed the board had acted on them in the past. He said he was surprised to discover they had not.

“In this review process I also saw that vaping and the use of e-cigarettes was not mentioned in the ordinance prohibiting smoking in village facilities,” he said.

Thiel said that while the two bills are still pending, the village’s addition of banning the sales of vaping products to minors “gets us in the loop ahead of the curve unless and until the Legislature does something.” The bills have been proposed by state Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, and Rep. Samantha Kerkman, R-Salem Lakes. However, the bills have yet to move forward.

“Again, this probably should be handled at the state level, but clearly, at this point in time, (the municipal ordinance) is trying to remedy it in the interim,” Thiel said.

Trustee Kris Keckler encouraged parents to educate themselves and their children on the dangers of vaping. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Oct. 29, 37 deaths related to vaping or e-cigarette use have been confirmed in 24 states, along with 1,888 cases of similarly associated lung injury in 49 states.

“It’s a shame that the legislators aren’t looking at this as the true health scare as it should be,” he said.

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