City Council later this month will consider banning the sale of cigarettes within 250 feet of a school.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, says some retailers near Evanston Township High School are selling cigarettes to students, even one or two at a time, in violation of current regulations.

The city now prohibits sale of tobacco products within 100 feet of a school, but when that ordinance was adopted the council decided not to force existing vendors within the restricted zone to close.

Ald. Holmes says continued reports of violations of the law justify broadening the ordinance to cover more territory and eliminate the exemption for existing vendors.

She originally proposed extending the forbidden zone to 500 feet, but suggested cutting it back to 250 feet after city staff produced a memo at Monday’s Human Services Committee meeting indicating that 60 percent of the city’s tobacco vendors are located within 500 feet of a school or other youth recreation facility.

Alderman Steve Bernstein, 4th Ward, said, “I’d like to know whether Dominicks and Jewel and Walgreens would be affected by this.”

Ald. Holmes said the reduction to a 250-foot limit would eliminate the impact on those major retailers.

The city anticipates generating $400,000 this year in tobacco sales tax revenue if the law is not changed. The council is scheduled to discuss the proposal at its June 26 meeting.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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