What the new age law for vaping means for people who vape, the vaping business

VIDEO: What the new age law for vaping means for people who vape, the vaping business

SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) - For anyone who’s addicted to vaping or in the vaping business, Sep. 1 was an important day.

The state legislature moved the legal age to buy vape products from 18 to 21.

On a typical afternoon at Texoma Tobacco, a store that in recent years has not been living up to it’s name, customer Tanner Moore-Wise is getting a refill.

“I did start vaping at the legal age,” said Moore-Wise.

He’s 20-years-old, and even though the legal age to buy in Texas is 21, he’s grandfathered in.

Moore-Wise liked the higher age limit but isn’t sure how effective it will be.

“I do agree with it,” said Moore-Wise. “I mean the JUULs have been running rampant in high school nowadays. I mean, I can see on my SnapChat stories that people are trying to sell JUULs to people.”

In fact, it was easy to find someone selling vape pens on SnapChat in a matter of minutes.

Facebook Marketplace has rules against selling vape products, but KXII was able to find one advertised as a “smoking machine.”

“All you got to do is say, ‘meet me here, money is there. I’ll drop it off and you can come and snag it,'" said Deavion Price.

Price started vaping when he was 12-years-old.

Where does a 12-year-old get a vape?

“Just people around,” said Price. “All you got to do is ask.”

He stopped when he started running track and realized he couldn’t breathe.

“So the doctor said that, ‘are you vaping?’ and I said, ‘yes sir,’" Price said. “He told me if I didn’t quit, I’m going to have a collapsed lung."

He listened to the doctor and hasn’t vaped in two years.

Price was buying from friends, who got it from other people who knew someone over 18. He thinks moving the age to 21 will eventually help.

“I’m glad they upgraded the law to 21,” said Price. “Now my sister can’t do it.”

Carmen said she vapes every day.

She moved to Texas from Canada to play softball at a junior college. In Canada, the legal age where she lived was 19.

When she got to Texas, she had just turned 18 and gave it a try.

“So like everyone was doing it, and when I started doing it, I just couldn’t stop,” said Carmen.

Now, she’s never without her JUUL.

Carmen said if the age limit would have been 21 sooner, she would not have been exposed to vaping.

“Sure, definitely because I would not be able to buy them,” said Carmen. “And I wouldn’t know anyone who’s able to buy them for me.”

Enforcing the new law may be difficult.

KXII asked the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission if they plan to do any undercover stings for stores selling to minors, like they do with alcohol.

They referred the station to the county health department, who then referred KXII back to TABC.

Denison’s Police Chief Mike Gudgel said he’ll have no problem enforcing the law and handing out the $100 fine to anyone caught possessing underage or selling to a minor.

“Our hope is obviously we don’t want to find those things, but when we do, we hope the enforcement of these laws can literally turn these kids away from these harmful products,” said Chief Gudgel.

Texas Tobacco Manager Rachell Ashcraft isn’t worried about the new age law harming her business.

However, those in the vaping business are worried about a bill going through the U.S. Congress that would ban all the flavors, like strawberry crush lemonade.

If this becomes illegal, they said it could devastate their business.

“If the flavor ban passes within six months, then all of our vape stores are dead,” said Ashcraft. “We’re all out of business.”

Some in Congress are worried that the candy and fruit flavors are used by companies to appeal to children.

Ashcraft said these flavors, like blueberry infused churro, are an important tool for anyone looking to quit tobacco without turning to junk food.

“So, this actually knocks out that craving for the sweets, and you’re not gaining weight,” said Ashcraft. “And then you’re able to get the nicotine you need.”

That’s why Moore-Wise said he vapes and he doesn’t want to go back to tobacco.

“I feel better smoking this thing than I ever did smoking cigarettes,” said Moore-Wise.

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