Local reaction: New federal law raises tobacco purchasing age

An owner of a vape store in Lexington says he supports the new federal law

LEXINGTON, S.C. (WOLO) —A new federal law makes it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase tobacco products.

One owner of a vape store says this is a good move to prevent their products from getting into the wrong hands.

Brad Progler, the Owner of Essential Vapors in Lexington, says only three percent of his customers are under the age of 21, but he believes the new minimum age law targets one group of people who thrive on getting younger people hooked on nicotine.

“You have high school seniors that are 18 years old that are going into establishments that are buying these devices and turning it into a small high school business and selling to the underage people. We don’t sell THC cartridges but we caught the brunt of the negativity from that,” Progler said.

A recent survey from the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that only two percent of high school seniors smoke cigarettes on a daily basis. However, the same survey found that 12 percent of high school seniors vape daily.

Anthony Alberg, an epidemiologist with the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina, was one of 13 public health experts who researched the impact of raising the minimum age.

He says outlawing the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21 delays the likelihood of young people getting hooked on nicotine.

“Not only does it have the immediate benefit in delaying and therefore reducing the total amount of cigarette smoke in a lifetime, but it has implications in helping with cessation, less smoking and therefore less morbidity and mortality caused by smoking,” Alberg said.

With a new minimum age in place, Progler says vape stores across the Midlands can achieve what he says is their goal, which is to help people cut the habit of smoking cigarettes.

“Vape stores are not here for people to start vaping. We are here to help people stop smoking, so anything that helps separate us from the opposition, I’m all for,” Progler said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says the new law took effect on December 20, but more details, including whether a ban on flavored e-cigarettes is included, will be revealed in the near future.

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