Local vape business endorses new “Tobacco 21” law despite financial losses

Illinois to become a Tobacco 21 state

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - As Illinois becomes the first Midwest state to raise the buying age for tobacco, local businesses are feeling the impact financially.

Jason Smith is the owner of 618 Vape, a vape shop located in Carbondale and Anna, Illinois. He says the new age requirement will impact his business located right near Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

“We are going to lose right around the sum of $70,000 per year based off of both stores from the amount of students that are not going to be allowed to come in the store anymore,” Smith said.

Despite his financial impact, Smith said that he’s on board with the purpose of the new law.

“It’s a major impact, but also if we can keep kids away from it, that’s a big thing," said Smith.

Gateway Foundation Program Director Stephenie Teague said she thinks the new law is a great thing and will have a positive impact on her clients.

Josh Garrett, 18, is an example of that. He is one of Teague’s clients at Gateway Recovery Home and is recovering from substance use.

He said that he’s been smoking for four years now.

“I started at the age of 14, getting them wherever I can, I’ve been smoking ever since," Garrett said. “Things would have definitely been different because the people who were 18 buying them for me, they would to have to wait longer, so it would have been totally different and I wouldn’t have been able to get my hands on it.”

“All statistics says that Nicotine is a gateway drug and so hopefully what we will see is a decrease in smoking at the age of 14, 13 or 14-years-old," Teague said.

Even though, adolescents between 18-years-old and their 21-year birthday will not be able to purchase tobacco products, ultimately, Smith says, it’s a sacrifice he’s willing to take.

“If this is the price that we have to pay to get them involved and get them to understand, vaping is designed to help you quit smoking, not to get someone addicted to Nicotine and that’s where we’ve stood in the last five years, we want to help you quit smoking,” Smith said.

Along with the Land of Lincoln, there are multiple other states raising the minimum wage, including: Hawaii, California, New Jersey, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Virginia, Utah and Washington State.

The law goes into effect July 1, 2019.

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