Rep. Wehrli Files Bill to Ban Flavored Tobacco Products

State Representative Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) is responding to reports of serious illnesses and deaths linked to vaping and other flavored tobacco use by pushing for a statewide ban of flavored tobacco products.

HB 3887, filed Friday in Springfield, creates the Flavored Tobacco Ban Act, and sets penalties for individuals and manufactures who would sell the products illegally. In addition to traditional flavored nicotine delivery systems, including vaping pens, the bill would ban tobacco products that include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in cannabis, or a mixture of nicotine and THC.

“Flavored tobacco products lure kids into a deadly addiction,” said Wehrli. “When nicotine is flavored to taste like cotton candy, chocolate, strawberry or other enticing tastes, children are being targeted. We are just now learning how damaging and deadly these new nicotine delivery systems are, and we need to do everything we can to keep these products away from kids.”

The bill would ban tobacco retailers and their employees from selling, offering for sale or possessing with the intent to sell, any flavored tobacco product, including solutions for use in E-cigarettes. Those found guilty of selling a flavored nicotine product would be guilty of a petty offense with a $100 fine for a first offense per item. A second infraction during a two-year period would carry a $250 per item fine and a third offense during a two-year period would lead to a $500 fine per item. Manufacturers or distributors who violate the Act would be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $50,000 for supplying any brand or style of flavored nicotine product during any 30-day period.

“As we learn more about the true dangers of these new methods for ingesting nicotine, we need to act swiftly to protect the health and safety of Illinoisans and especially young people who are targeted by the tobacco industry,” said Wehrli. “As a parent, these new statistics frighten me. We must take these steps to keep these products out of our stores.”

According to Wehrli, the money collected in fines would be split, with 50% of the money collected going to the State agency or local unit of government responsible for successfully prosecuting an offender, and the other 50% going to the Illinois Department of Revenue for use in promoting the Act and the prevention of tobacco use by people under the age of 21.