TULSA, Okla. — You now have to be 21 to buy cigarettes and tobacco products thanks to a federal law change made before the new year.
That new law also applies to e-cigarrettes and vaping products that contain nicotine.
The new legislation signed by the president on Dec. 20 was able to go into affect immediately, because congress only increased the age limit in the existing law from 18 to 21.
The FDA says the legal age being raised from 18 to 21 is their effort to prevent younger teens in high school from getting those products from their older peers. However, some vape shop owners like Joe Puckett think this new law will only make vaping more dangerous for teens.
Vape shop owner Joe Puckett says this quick change will hurt business, but he’s mainly worried it will hurt more young adults.
Puckett has owned his store, Joe's Green Room and Vape Shop, for six years. He say's he is already planning to take a financial hit this year due to a law banning customers 21 and younger from buying most things in his store.
“It's probably going to hurt a bit at first, you know as far as what I’m going to do. I'm not 100% certain yet I'm still trying to figure it out," Puckett said. “With the way it was just implemented and thrown into law everybody is just scrambling right now.”
While Puckett says he is thinking about sales, he's more so concerned about his former young customers' health. Because he says, they’ll still want to smoke but will do so dangerously.
“More people will probably get sick over this because they’re going to go out and either try to make the stuff, or buy it from people that are making it themselves in home in their garage," Puckett said. ”There are 18 and 20 year old's that cant buy cigarettes and the only thing they are going to do that have been hooked for a few years, because they have been able to spoke legally they are just going to get someone else to buy it for them”
Puckett says with the law change, he's already seen unofficial sellers soliciting online.
"I saw posts about people selling grams of tobacco on Facebook, its ridiculous," Puckett said.
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.
Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox. Select from these options: Breaking News, Severe Weather, School Closings, Daily Headlines and Daily Forecasts.