Vape shop owner reacts to possible raise of legal smoking age

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – A local vape shop owner say he opposes a bill in the works, that would change the legal age to purchase tobacco products in the state to 21.
“We sell vaping mods, products, we have e-juices, we sell house juices, a little bit of everything,” said John Downs, the owner of Swamp Vapor.
His 3 store locations in Acadiana are being very proactive in letting their customers know about a law in the works, that would change the legal smoking age from 18 to 21.
“We put this in front of our 18 to 21 year olds that come in, we advise them who they can contact,” said Downs.
A proposal passed the State’s House Health and Welfare Committee Wednesday, which would prohibit anyone under 21 to buy tobacco, or any e-cigarette or vapor products.
The bill will now go to the full House for debate.
“If you have the right to fight for your country, if you have the right to vote, and you have the right to be tried as an adult at 18, I feel like you should have the opportunity to make a choice of your own to smoke or vape,” Downs believes.
State Represenative Frank Hoffman (R) from West Monroe authored the bill.
He’s a former smoker who has repeatedly tried to toughen laws against tobacco use, according to AP.
He believes this proposed change would save lives and cut state health care costs.
Downs believes about 10 to 15 percent of his customers 18 to 21 years old.
“Majority of our business is the older generation that made the choice to go to vaping instead of the (regular) tobacco products (like cigarettes).
Opinions locally are mixed on the change…
“If the smoking age is raised to 21, they’ll (minors) still get a hold of cigarettes if they really want to smoke cigarettes,” said Natalie Stelly.
“If you asked me, I’d be okay if cigarettes just went away forever,” said Adam Richard.
“I just think that’s just not right, leave it where it’s at. It’s already we got to wait to 21 to drink, and children drinking underage you know, leave it where it’s at. Don’t fix what’s not broken,” said Dominique Daniels.
According to the American Lung Assocation, if the proposal passes, Louisiana would join a dozen other states that have raised the minimum age for tobacco sales to 21.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R) also announced plans last week to introduce a bill that would raise the legal age to buy tobacco products across the country, from 18 to 21.

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