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State Laws
State law allows our municipality to retain one-half of the monetary penalties collected and the remaining one-half are to be sent to the state. Where do I send the one-half for the state?

When enforcing state law, does the fine issued go to the business or the clerk?

How old does the person have to be that is selling tobacco products?

Exactly which signs are required and in what situations?

During the compliance check, I noticed that cigarettes being sold do not have the correct tax stamp affixed to the bottom of the package. What should I do?

Can I send a minor into a bar to do a tobacco compliance check?

Retail Education
Our retailers are still having difficulty determining the age of customers from their I.D. What can I do?

Tobacco Enforcement Program
Our compliance rate is not improving in spite of our retail education and compliance checks. What can I do?

 

State Laws

State law allows our municipality to retain one-half of the monetary penalties collected and the remaining one-half are to be sent to the state. Where do I send the one-half for the state?

According to the Sale of Tobacco to Minors Act, if a clerk is found guilty of violating state law, the presiding Judge will instruct them to pay the Circuit Clerk. Upon receiving the fine, the Circuit Clerk will retain one-half of the fine for the unit of local government or other entity that successfully prosecuted the offender. The Circuit Clerk will forward the remaining one-half of the fine to the State Treasurer. (720 ILCS 675/2)



When enforcing state law, does the fine issued go to the business or the clerk?

According to the Sale of Tobacco to Minors Act, "Any person who violates any provision of this Act is guilty of a petty offense and for the first offense shall be fined $200, $400 for the second offense in a 12-month period, and $600 for the third or any subsequent offense in a 12-month period." Therefore, the fine is levied against the clerk selling the tobacco product to the minor. (720 ILCS 675/2)



How old does the person have to be that is selling tobacco products?

No minor under 16 years of age may sell any cigar, cigarette, smokeless tobacco, or tobacco in any of its forms at a retail establishment selling tobacco products. This does not apply to a sales clerk in a family-owned business which can prove that the sales clerk is in fact a son or daughter of the owner. In addition, there are several options for locations in which tobacco products can be sold in a vending machine. One of these options but not the only option is an age restriction for supervising vending machines in that tobacco products may be sold through a vending machine in locations where the vending machine can only be operated by the owner or an employee over the age of 18 either directly or through a remote control device if the device is inaccessible to customers. (720 ILCS 675/1)


Exactly which signs are required and in what situations?

The Cigarette Health Warning Act states, "No person may sell cigarettes at retail using a cigarette vending machine unless a sign with the message ‘SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: SMOKING BY PREGNANT WOMEN MAY RESULT IN FETAL INJURY, PREMATURE BIRTH, AND LOW BIRTH WEIGHT’ is displayed in plain view on the machine. No person may sell or offer to sell cigarettes at retail unless a sign with the message ‘SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: SMOKING BY PREGNANT WOMEN MAY RESULT IN FETAL INJURY, PREMATURE BIRTH, AND LOW BIRTH WEIGHT’ is posted in a conspicuous place upon the premises. (410 ILCS 85/4)
Therefore, the Surgeon General’s Warning is not required for cigars, smokeless, etc., only cigarettes in either over-the-counter or vending machine sales. The Tobacco Accessories and Smoking Herbs Control Act states, "Warning to minors. Any person, firm, partnership, company or corporation operating a place of business where tobacco accessories and smoking herbs are sold or offered for sale shall post in a conspicuous place upon the premises a sign upon which there shall be imprinted the following statement, ‘SALE OF TOBACCO ACCESSORIES AND SMOKING HERBS TO PERSONS UNDER EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE OR THE MISREPRESENTATION OF AGE TO PROCURE SUCH A SALE IS PROHIBITED BY LAW’" (720 ILCS 685/4 (e))



During the compliance check, I noticed that cigarettes being sold do not have the correct tax stamp affixed to the bottom of the package. What should I do?
Cigarette tax stamps are regulated by the Illinois Department of Revenue.
The Cigarette Tax Act states that it is a violation to possess cigarettes that are improperly stamped (35 ILCS 130/13); and authorized employees of the Illinois Department of Revenue may arrest persons violating the Act; without search warrant inspect all cigarettes located in any place of business; and seize any original packages not properly stamped (35 ILCS 130/18); and persons in possession of improperly stamped packages of cigarettes are liable to pay to the Illinois Department of Revenue, a penalty of $15 for each package of cigarettes in excess of 100 packages (35 ILCS 135/25(a)).
There are provisions in the Cigarette Tax Act that give a "peace officer" of the state the authority to take other actions but none are "on site" and immediate (35 ILCS 130/20). If you encounter improperly taxed packages of cigarettes, please contact Jeff Barr @ 312.814.6884 with the estimated quantity of packages and he will notify the Illinois Department of Revenue.



Can I send a minor into a bar to do a tobacco compliance check?

The Commission encourages you to conduct compliance checks on all establishments including bars and taverns. State liquor laws do not regulate age restrictions for admittance to liquor establishments. It is the decision of local municipalities to regulate this restriction. Please refer to your local liquor laws for guidance.
However, the Commission does not expect you to conduct compliance checks in the following circumstances: local ordinances prevent minors from entering liquor establishments, the location is adult in nature, the minor is recognized by an employee of the establishment, the minor is recognized by a customer, the location is unsafe, or the location subjects the minor to an unpleasant environment.
Please note that in several of the listed circumstances, a simple matter of a rescheduling the compliance check will eliminate the cause of concern.



Retail Education

Our retailers are still having difficulty determining the age of customers from their I.D. What can I do?

Calculating the age of a customer can be very difficult. Clerks often try to subtract the year in which a customer was born from the current year. This can be a cumbersome calculation, especially when this calculation must be done in their head.

The Commission conducts over 17,000 compliance checks annually. During these checks, if a clerk does not ask for an ID the violation rate is approximately 75 percent. When a clerk does ask for an ID, the violation rate drops below 10 percent. Therefore, the first step in preventing underage sales is to ask for an ID. If the customer does not have an ID - then don’t sell.

The State’s Drivers License format makes the determination of a customer’s age relatively easy. If an ID has a vertical orientation it means the individual is considered a minor for alcohol and/or tobacco. Look on the side of their photo and the date the individual turns 18 and/or 21 is shown. And finally, determine if the person in the ID photo is the person handing you the ID?



Tobacco Enforcement Program

Our compliance rate is not improving in spite of our retail education and compliance checks. What can I do?

Do not expect compliance rates to improve overnight. Research indicates that increases in compliance result from retail education and frequent compliance checks (optimum frequency is 3-4 compliance checks per year.) Although we would like to see immediate improvements in statewide compliance rates, we recognize that we are trying to change behaviors in an environment with high employee turnover and improvements may not be realized until the second year of the program.
To supplement your required, one-time retail education component of the Tobacco Enforcement Program you may want to enhance your educational program with more activities. This may include site visits to verify required signs are properly posted and a review of minimum-age tobacco laws, scheduling the Commission’s Retail Education Class or scheduling the Secretary of State’s "Operation Straight ID" class for all retailers that sell age restrictive products.
Changes in compliance rates, positive or negative, may also be an artificial result due to changes in minor characteristics. We find that gender, age and race can have a tremendous impact on compliance rates. Therefore it is important to keep the minor characteristics consistent during each round.


Chicago Address:
100 W. Randolph, Suite 7-801
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: 312-814-2206 Fax: 312-814-2241
TDD: 312-814-1844
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Springfield Address:
101 West Jefferson Suite 3-525
Springfield, Illinois 62702
Phone: 217-782-2136 Fax: 217-524-1911
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