Smoke shop says business will drop from Tobacco 21

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ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — The law to raise the age for raising tobacco and e-cigarette sales age from 18 to 21 is now in effect. Later this year it will be illegal to sell any tobacco and vape products to anyone under 21.     

The Dewey Avenue Smoke Shop in Rochester has tobacco and e-cigarettes for 18 and up.  “We’re definitely dead set against it on principle,” said sales associate Kevin Yost. He says this infringes on people’s right to choose. 

“We are going to lose some customers with this changing of the law,” said Yost. Many of his younger customers purchase e-cigarette products. 

Allen Peters started smoking as a teenager and tried quitting several times. “I have breathing problems, I’m on two inhalers,” said Peters. 

He wishes he did not start so young. That is something URMC doctor Deborah Ossip said this law will help prevent. 

“We’re not so much effecting the 18-20-year old’s, who still know people in the older age range, but we’re affecting the 15-17-year old’s, or the 13-15-year old’s,” said Ossip. She is a professor of public health science and director of the smoking research program. 

Many are switching over from cigarettes to vaping. We asked Ossip what she thought, and she said the scientific field is still split with not enough long-term data. “Vaping products do not burn, so they don’t have a lot of the chemicals in the combustible tobacco products, but they are not safe products. They have cancer-causing agents.” 

While the law hurts smoke shops, Yost at Dewey Ave says business will bounce back. “It will rebound eventually, just how long will it take to rebound from that.”  

New York State is one of 17 states and many other municipalities that have raised the age to buy tobacco and e-cigarette products. Altria, Juul and British American Tobacco are supporting the efforts. The law in New York State will go into effect in October. 

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