x

WNEP.com | News, Weather & Sports from WNEP-TV — Proud to Serve Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania

Federal Law Changes Minimum Smoking Age

LACKAWANNA COUNTY, Pa. — Clerks at City Market Cafe in downtown Scranton say once winter break is over, many of their tobacco customers will be in for a r...

LACKAWANNA COUNTY, Pa. -- Clerks at City Market Cafe in downtown Scranton say once winter break is over, many of their tobacco customers will be in for a rude awakening.

"We have a lot of college kids that are under the age of 21 that come in for the vape pens and the e-cigs and all that type of stuff. Most of them are gone for break right now, but I assume when they come back it's going to be a shock to them," said Raygan Laflair, City Market & Cafe.

The staff says the younger crowd has been buying up their stock of e-cigarettes.

Vaping-related illness, in part, prompted the new federal law changing the minimum age to legally buy tobacco from 18 to 21.

The law applies to all tobacco products.

Local shops started enforcing the new law this past Friday after the Food and Drug Administration said the law signed by President Trump a few weeks ago officially took effect.

Shop owners suspect that younger smokers will struggle with the change.

"Smoking is an addiction and stuff, you know? I guess they should probably some, at least, help, for 18-to 20-year-olds as far as quitting smoking because they're going to have to do it cold turkey now," said Chris Corker, City Market & Cafe.

They also say the new law might mean a hit to business especially when it comes to e-cigarettes, but most agree that raising the minimum age is a good thing.

"I think especially with all the studies with the new vaping pens and everything, giving lung disease to young kids, I think it should have always been 21 and older," said Raygan.

Pennsylvania had already passed its own bill to raise the age to 21 but it wasn't scheduled to take effect until next summer.