E-cigarettes may no longer be sold at convenience stores

vape store co-owner demonstrates how to use e-cigarette.
vape store co-owner demonstrates how to use e-cigarette.(FOX 8 photo)
Updated: Nov. 9, 2018 at 5:45 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - New restrictions could be placed on e-cigarettes after the FDA called e-cigarette use by minors an epidemic.

The FDA is considering banning the sale of the product in convenience stores.

“I believe that it is an epidemic among minors,” said Dr. Edward Trapido with the LSU School of Public Health.

The FDA Commissioner is expected to announce a ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in convenience stores and gas stations across the country, according to the Washington Post.

“Stores like ours, a vape shop or a tobacco shop, they’re following the rules. Every employee here has responsible vendor cards from the state of Louisiana. They have to take a course just to be able to sell these things,” said Crescent City Vape Co-owner Sean Partridge.

This comes after government data shows that e-cigarette use rose 77 percent among high schoolers in 2018.

“Children are vaping in school. Middle-schoolers are showing staggering statistics of nicotine use,” Partridge said.

The products will continue to be sold in vape and tobacco shops, which the FDA believes are more careful about verifying the age of consumers.

“It don’t matter what age you are, we will still ask you to pull your ID out, we’ll check on it. If it looks fake to us or we have suspicions it is, then that’s when we’ll go and investigate a little bit,” Vapors Inn employee Bryan Pham said.

He showed FOX 8 a stack of fake IDs they've confiscated, and how they use social media to vet underage customers.

“For example, this one’s for Alabama, so after searching him up, the very first page to pop up, East Jefferson High School, that’s actually him,” Pham said as he found the owner of the fake ID on Facebook.

Partridge said he's seen firsthand the problem of minors entering his store to buy e-cigarettes.

"We have a lot of young people that go there, I'd say more than anyone else, and we have to push them right out the door because there are multiple stores just on that strip of road that have a known reputation to sell products to minors, and they come into our store expecting us to not even ID them," Partridge said.

Trapido said he's afraid the new restrictions could backfire.

"If it's easier to get cigarettes than it is to get vaping products, that's been the fear all along. So kids are going to switch," Trapido said.

Trapido said he's interested in seeing how e-cigarette companies will respond to this

"The companies have said they want to stop kids from using their products. Well, if they really want to stop having kids use their products, they have to stop marketing and making products that are attractive to kids," Trapido said.

FDA officials say they will also impose age-verification requirements for online sales.

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