New age limit to buy tobacco causing confusion for some smoke shop owners

Published: Dec. 30, 2019 at 10:38 PM EST
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The U.S Food and Drug Adminstration announced last week the age limit for buying tobacco products had gone up from 18 to 21. There is confusion surrounding when the change would be enacted.

Ginny Saville has been in the smoke shop industry for 22 years. She said she's seen a lot of change, so the new age requirement doesn't surprise her, but the timing does. She said she first learned of the change on Dec. 27.

, last updated on Dec. 21, states it's now illegal for retailers to sell any tobacco products.

Saville said she thinks the law was quickly passed through, bypassing the protocol.

"Generally, the first thing they will do is send you a letter and tell you you're doing it wrong, so generally, you don't face any penalties out of the gate, but you can," she said.

This is the second location of The Botany Bay in Lexington and it's only been opened for a little more than one month. Saville said she's worried the new law will not only impact her customers, but her employees, too.

She doesn't know if she can hold onto staff under 21, and has told them to look for new jobs.

"I told them I was happy to at least be honest with them and give them more notice than I just got," Saville said.

Her employees said they're expecting to see more fake IDs at the counter. Saville, who has her own children, is worried young people will get their tobacco elsewhere.

"Maybe they're going to go out and get something on the street that hurts them, and that didn't happen last week," she said.

She said for now, she's trying to avoid breaking a law she doesn't know much about.