LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Right now in Indiana, you must be 18 years old to buy e-cigarettes. One business though is requiring you to be older.
At Fog Foundry in Lafayette, Kokomo and Frankfort, customers must be 19 years old to enter. Co-owner Chad Myers wanted to make the change after his relatives in high school told him 18-year-old students were buying products and then reselling them to younger kids. He hopes this new policy will make it harder to do that.
"We decided we wanted to do our part," Myers said. "It upsets me because it is not just an issue getting to young teenagers a new habit but it also affects the industry negatively."
Since they started the new policy, Myers and his co-owner Shawn Cuzzort have received both positive and negative feedback. He said the negative feedback mostly comes from people between the ages of 25 and 50.
"If we do not at least try, then there will never be a resolution," said Myers.
They are making the change as studies show more high schoolers are vaping. According to the FDA, usage among students increased by nearly 80 percent from 2017 to 2018.
Data from the same 2018 survey also said the proportion of current e-cigarette users in high school who reported use on 20 days or more in the past 30-day period increased from 20 percent to 27.7 percent between 2017 and 2018.
"I think if everybody would pick up the policy these guys are trying to put into effect it would really help," said Joseph Whitlock, a customer.
Some competitors though did not think this move will help at all. Latasha Johnson works at Vapes N Things in Indianapolis. She said very few teens come in the store to buy e-cigarettes.
"It would just make kids get their older friends to get the products for them," she said. "In theory, it is a good idea and I respect and commend them from doing that. I do not think it is worth it."
U.S. Senator Todd Young of Indiana sponsored a federal bill that would increase the smoking age to 21. It passed committee in June and now heads to the floor for a vote.
That is something Myers is against though. He just wants to make it harder for teens to get his products.