New Tobacco Laws Combat Teen Vaping

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Spencer Jennings, Social Media Editor

Before Dec. 20, 2019, high school seniors could go into any convenience store or smoke shop and purchase nicotine products for themselves and their peers. This has created a new generation of very young nicotine addicts, mostly thanks to e-cigarettes. To combat this epidemic, the US passed a new federal law that changed the tobacco minimum legal sales age (MLSA) to 21. They have also banned the sale of all flavors of cartridge-based e-cigarettes, other than tobacco and menthol.

This directly targets all young smokers. According to the American Lung Association, increasing the MSLA of tobacco products will efficiently “counter the tobacco industry’s efforts to target young people” by reducing smoking initiation for 15-17 year-olds by 25 percent and 15 percent for 18-20-year-olds.

At this point in the process, many teens are still able to get their hands on nicotine products. Sophomore Cade Carpenter believes, “this new law will keep vapes away from a lot of the upcoming freshman.” 

An eighth-grader that wished to remain anonymous predicted, “I feel like it will make that type of stuff really hard to get to for kids my age, so it will work.” 

Today’s high schoolers have been branded as the JUUL generation. It is believed that the next school year will begin a new era of low-smoking levels in teens.

Sophomore Emily Farrell agrees with Carpenter’s statement and said, “This new law will change the mainstream of vaping in high schools.”

As for the 19 and 20-year-olds that have moved on from high school, a new habit may need to be looked into. Research on teen vaping and the effects of the new MSLA will continue to transpire as time goes on.