Trump signs bill that raises legal smoking age to 21


GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- Friday, President Trump signed a budget bill that contains a provision to raise the smoking age from 18 to 21 for both tobacco products and e-cigarettes.

In 2019, more than one in four high school students reported they’d used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

7News called several vape shops in the Upstate to get their reaction. Two told 7News raising the legal smoking age would definitely impact their business.

Jonathan Hudgins, who is an assistant manager at Carolina Vapor Mill, said it’s not really going to affect the customers he serves.

“We have about four percent of our customers are under the age of 21,” he said.

Hudgins said Carolina Vapor Mill has always supported raising the age to buy tobacco to 21, and he thinks it will help keep cigarettes and vapes out of the hands of students.

“I think that raising the tobacco age to 21 is a smart move, and I think it will make a pretty big difference,” he said.

The American Lung Association has also pushed for the move, saying it will help save lives. The legislation came as lawmakers were trying to address illnesses and dozens of deaths relating to vaping. The CDC has said evidence shows the spike in vaping related illnesses is tied to a vitamin E additive found in black market vapes with THC.

Hudgins said what would affect business for local vape shops is a ban on flavored e-liquid products.

“That’s obviously something that would kill a lot of our industry,” he said.

In September, President Trump said he was moving to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes, but a month later he said he was still working on a way to curb teen vaping without putting vape stores out of business and driving their customers to the black market, BuzzFeed reported.

According to ABC News, the Food and Drug Administration has 180 days to update its regulations, and the new age requirement will go into effect 90 days later.

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