BATON ROUGE, La. – The push to raise the minimum purchase age for all tobacco products, including vaping, has an unlikely advocate…those who sell vaping products.
Local vape shop owners say they already have procedures in place to restrict underage vaping.
On any given day, you’ll see dozens walk into LA Vape and Beyond on Perkins Road. Shop employees said, their vapes are flying off the shelves.
“It’s a very hot item. It doesn’t stay on the shelf too long I’ll say,” Braden Templet says.
One of the most popular items being sold at LA Vapes and Beyond are Juuls.
Juuls are a form of vaping with the chemicals built into a device as small as a jump drive.
Juul, the company who says they created the product to be an alternative to smokers, posted an ad in the Baton Rouge Advocate. It said, raise the minimum purchase age of tobacco products to 21 in Louisiana.
Advocating for that restriction limits Juuls’ own customer base and has vapers wondering why.
“You buy a pack of cigarettes at 18 but you gotta wait until you’re 21 to get a Juul product. Why are we changing the age on it if it’s safe?” asks Anthony Weathersby.
In a statement, Juul said “Tobacco 21 laws fight one of the largest contributors to this problem, sharing by legal age peers and they have been shown to dramatically reduce youth -use rates.
Those who use vapes said the products actually helped them quit smoking but it wasn’t Juuls that did the trick.
“They’re confusing Juuls with vaping — two different things” Weathersby adds.
Over the past year, Juuls have become popular among teens and college students but local shops said they’ve been keeping up with the FDA and vaping company policies to ensure they don’t end up in the wrong hands.
Weathersby said “I had one guy not too long ago got upset…grey hair and all and still asked him for his ID, so it’s whatever.”
Juul also says they will continue to work with lawmakers across the country to enact what they are calling effective policies.