Officials Address Vaping Concerns In The Community

Concern regarding underage nicotine use, including vaping and smoking, have prompted school personnel, City and County Officials and law enforcement to coordinate their efforts to try and come up with solutions. A meeting was held on July 22, at the Jefferson County Law Enforcement Center to hold what Fairbury Public Schools Superintendent Stephen Grizzle described as a “brainstorming session.”
Grizzle and newly appointed Principal Derek Anderson represented the school. Also in attendance were Jefferson County Attorney Joseph Casson, County Commissioner Mark Schoenrock, City Administrator Colin Bielser, Sheriff Nels Sorensen and Chief Deputy Matt Schultz.
One issue that was discussed was the enforcement of nicotine laws outside of school property. Currently, the legal age to smoke or “vape” is 18 years. According to State law, as of 2019 this includes any “electronic nicotine delivery system.” Beginning Jan. 1, LB397 raises the age to 19 years.
As to who is responsible for enforcing the law, Casson has advised, “The Sheriff’s Office will investigate all state law violations occurring in the City of Fairbury. The Code Enforcement Officer will investigate all ordinance violations. The are some Fairbury Ordinance violations that have a corresponding state statute that covers the same violation. I expect that the City of Fairbury will defer to the Sheriff’s Office any violations that are cover by both ordinance and state law. If there is no corresponding state law involved in an ordinance violation, it will be up to the City of Fairbury to investigate and prosecute those violations.”
He added, “While the smoking/vaping violations are covered both by ordinance and state law, I expect the City of Fairbury will defer to the Sheriff’s Office for all of these violations.”

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