Plastic straws and e-cigarettes were put on notice at the Oak Park Board of Trustees Monday meeting, referring the two issues to the Environment and Energy Commission and the Oak Park Board of Health, respectively.

The Board of Trustees already approved a measure in 2016 increasing the age to purchase tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21, but Trustee James Taglia said he wants the Board of Health to take a closer look at advertising of e-cigarettes.

“It’s really upsetting that they have ad campaigns specifically designed to appeal to youth,” he said, noting that some e-cigarette companies use images that resemble candy to appeal to young smokers.

Such “predatory behavior” by companies, he said, should not be allowed in Oak Park. “I hope the health department looks at this from the point of regulation,” he said. Taglia was moved to take a closer look at the issue after reading a New York Times article about the public safety concerns associated with the product.

The board also moved to have the Environment and Energy Commission review potential regulation of the distribution of plastic straws in the village. 

Environmental advocates have recently focused on plastic straws and their impact on the environment.

Trustee Deno Andrews, who ran the fast-food restaurant Felony Franks until it closed last year, said the idea of limiting businesses in their distribution of plastic straws “is a very touchy topic.” 

“I’m not looking for a total ban on plastic straws; I’m not looking for the wild west of [excessively] handing out plastic straws,” he said.

CONTACT: tim@oakpark.com

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