Vape users react to new age law in Texas

Published: Nov. 25, 2019 at 11:17 PM CST
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It's a typical afternoon at Texas Tobacco… a store that in recent years has not been living up to its name.

Tanner Moore-Wise said, "So you just press the button and take a drag."

Customer Tanner Moore-Wise is getting a refill.

Tanner Moore-Wise said, "I did start vaping at the legal age."

He's 20 years old, and even though the legal age to buy in Texas is 21, he's grandfathered in. Moore-Wise likes the higher age limit but isn't sure how effective it will be.

Tanner Moore-Wise said, "I do agree with it. I mean the Juuls have been running rampant in high schools nowadays. I mean I can see on my Snap Chat stories that people are trying to sell Juuls to people."

In fact, we were able to find someone selling vape pens on Snap Chat in a matter of minutes. Facebook marketplace has rules against selling vape products, but we were able to find this one advertised as a "smoke machine".

Deavion Price, "All you got to do is say meet me here, money is there. I'll drop it off and you can come and snag it."

Deavion Price started vaping when he was 12 years old.

Dan Thomas asked, "Where does a 12 year old get a vape?" Deavion Price, "Just people around. All you got to do is ask."

He stopped when he started running track… and realized he couldn't breathe.

Deavion Price, "So the doctor said that, are you vaping and I said, 'yes sir' he told me if I didn't quit, I'm going to have a collapsed lung if I would not quit."

He listened to the doctor and hasn't vaped in 2 years.

Price was buying from friends, who got it from other people who knew someone over 18. He thinks moving the age to 21, will eventually help.

Deavion Price, "I'm glad they upgraded the law to 21."

Deavion Price, "Now my sister can't do it now."

Carmen said, "I vape every day."

Carmen didn't want us to use her last name.

But she moved to Texas from Canada to play Softball at a junior college.

In Canada the legal age where she lived was 19… when she got to Texas she just turned 18… and gave it a try.

Carmen said, "So like everyone was doing it and when I started doing it, I just couldn't stop."

Now, she's never without her Juul.

Dan Thomas asked, "Do you mind, do you have your vape on you? OH THERE IT IS you were holding it the whole time. I had no idea, I thought it was like a USB thing." Carmen said, "That's what I tell the teachers. Ha ha, no I'm kidding, I'm kidding."

Dan Thomas said, "tell me about this new law. 21 years old to buy it. Would that have changed your exposure to it?" Clip 273 Carmen said, "Sure, definitely because I would not be able to buy them. And I wouldn't know anyone who's able to buy them for me."

But enforcing the new law may be more difficult.

We asked the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission if they plan to do any undercover stings for stores selling to minors like they do with alcohol.

The referred us to the county health department, who then referred us back to the TABC.

Denison's Police Chief Mike Gudgel says he'll have no problem enforcing the law… and handing out the $100 fine to anyone caught possessing underage… or selling to a minor.

Chief Mike Gudgel, "Our hope is obviously we don't want to find those things but when we do we hope the enforcement of these laws can literally turn these kids away from these harmful products."

Rachell Ashcraft said, "The 21 and up law that just went into effect with Texas I think is a good thing."

Texas Tobacco Manager Rachell Ashcraft isn't worried about the new age law harming her business.

Dan Thomas said, "But they are worried about a bill going through the US Congress that would ban all the flavors you see here, like Strawberry crush lemonade. If this becomes illegal, they say that could devastate their business."

00:07 clip 289 "If the flavor ban passes within 6 months then all of our vape stores are dead. We're all out of business." 12

Some in Congress are worried that the candy and fruit flavors are used by companies to appeal to children.

But Ashcraft says these flavors like Blue berry-infused churro are an important tool for anyone looking to quit tobacco without turning to junk food.

Rachell Ashcraft said, "So this actually knocks out that craving for the sweets and you're not gaining the weight. And then you're able to get the nicotine you need."

That's why Moore-Wise says he vapes and he doesn't want to go back to tobacco.

Tanner Moore-Wise said, "I feel better smoking this thing that I ever did smoking cigarettes."