e cigSPRINGFIELD – E-cigarette use is rising dramatically among Illinois teens – with the newest culprit of the epidemic being vapes that look like highlighters, markers and other school supplies.

During a press conference Thursday, State Senators Julie Morrison and Meg Loughran Cappel outlined their proposals to curb the youth vaping epidemic.

“The dangerous and addictive nature of nicotine consumption is the reason I have taken a strong stand on this issue,” said Morrison (D-Lake Forest). “We should do everything in our power to make it impossible for children to obtain and conceal tobacco products.”

Nicotine companies marketing to kids is nothing new but now they’re creating vapes that resemble school supplies, like highlighters. Morrison is leading Senate Bill 2662 to prohibit the advertising, marketing or promoting of an electronic cigarette in a manner that is likely to cause an adult to mistake it for an object that is not a tobacco product.

Educators have complained to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services about finding electronic cigarettes on school property that are designed to look like school supplies such as highlighters, erasers and pencil sharpeners.

Part of the issue, however, lies in how simple it is for people to get their hands on these devices. With the click of a button online, an e-cigarette that looks like a highlighter can be ordered for under $20 – making it even more enticing to children.

Loughran Cappel is championing Senate Bill 3098 to prohibit electronic cigarettes purchased by mail, online or through other remote sale methods from being shipped to anyone in the state other than a distributor or retailer.

“With technology ever evolving, kids can easily get whatever they want from a quick Google search,” said Loughran Cappel. “Students are getting e-cigarettes online that look like school supplies, making it difficult for teachers to decipher if it is a vape or not. By putting guardrails in place, we can protect our youth from the dangers of e-cigarettes.”

Both measures passed committee and await further consideration before the full Senate.