The Oak Park Village Board voted Monday to treat electronic cigarettes like regular cigarettes and banned smoking them indoors.
Trustees expressed concerns about the public health effects of "e-cigarettes" — which vaporize nicotine and other substances for inhalation — and a lack of regulations restricting their use. Trustees said they were following the example of Chicago, whose ban on e-cigarettes went into effect April 29.
"I don't know if we can protect people from themselves, but we definitely have the obligation to protect people from each other," Village President Anan Abu-Taleb said during a Monday meeting, citing concerns of second-hand effects.
Margaret Provost-Fyfe, the village's health director, told the board little is known about the health effects of the relatively new product.
"This is very much a developing issue in the public health community," she said. Given the lack of information, she recommended restricting use.
Information was not immediately available about when the ban would go into effect.
Abu-Taleb and Trustee Adam Salzman said they supported going further to deter use of e-cigarettes by raising taxes on them. The board directed staff to look at possibilities of such a tax.
Salzman said a new e-cigarette store opening recently on Marion Street in downtown Oak Park helped bring the issue to the board's attention.
"We would only be doing half the job if we don't take the next step and see how this should inform zoning," he said.