Raising age limit may prevent adolescent addiction to e-cigarettes

By Colby Sigears

Delta Digital News Service

Watermelon Rancher flavored liquid for electronic cigarettes is pictured here. E-cigarettes come in a variety of flavors.

JONESBORO – If began at an early age, tobacco products may cause harm to individuals in their adolescent years. For some, raising the age limit for the purchase of tobacco products may be the solution to thwarting potential health risks.

Charlina Smith, a store manager at a local Jonesboro tobacco shop said electronic cigarette sales for young adults continue to grow at her store.

“More adults purchase the e-cigarettes for children…we turn parents away for picking up e-cigarette flavors for their children,” Smith said.

Arkansas House Bill 1519, introduced by Rep. Lee Johnson, R-Greenwood, would allow people only 21 and older to purchase tobacco, vapor, alternative nicotine or e-liquid products in Arkansas unless they have a military ID.

“They help with cardiac problems and not as bad as people think,” she said.

Sebastian Hanner, a cashier at Kum & Go said most people did not know of a recall on Juul e-cigarettes before they hit the market in Jonesboro.

“They were a piece of (expletive), originally killing people. They recalled flavors because they contained benzoic acid,” Hanner said.

Although awareness of the potential dangers of e-cigarettes has grown, the state may be unwilling to change its laws seeing as how sales from the product bring in more money to the state.

“Sales would be affected but it is necessary, it’s easy for a minor to purchase them,” Smith said. “We can card all day and they still could get them.”

Candace Cline, an employee at Vape Maven said, vaping helped her quit her smoking addiction.

“I have been vaping for six months and it helped me stop smoking when I got pregnant,” she said.

Two cities in the state have raised the minimum age to 21, Harrison and Helena-West Helena. Surgeon General, Gregory Bledsoe, said the age shift would positively impact collective health for decades to come.

“I did not have to spend as much money, got better sleep and was more relaxed when I switched to vaping,” Cline proclaimed.

 

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