“I hate the government:”Lexington smoke shop owner reacts to new federal tobacco age limit

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – For the second time in 2019, smoke shop owner Ginny Saville is answering questions about how a new rule set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is affecting business.

“I hate the government,” she said laughing.

“People should choose the way they want to enjoy their adult life.”

Saville is the owner of The Botany Bay which operates several locations in the Lexington area.

As of December 20, 2019, the FDA officially raised the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21.

This means shops like The Botany Bay have had to start turning away customer that up until now have been shopping with them for years.

“We’ll definitely feel an effect. They just cut a chunk of customers who aren’t eligible to shop for about two-thirds of the products in the store,” Saville says.

The change took effect sooner than expected.

The new rule wasn’t expected to go into effect until after the first of the year.

Kentucky senior senator Mitch McConnell (R) was in support of the law, joining a number of lawmakers hoping to curb the number of young people using tobacco products.

A statewide study found one in five high school students use e-cigarettes.

Saville says this new law will not do much to deter teens from using tobacco products.

‘None of these measures ever stopped the teenagers from getting in trouble.”

According to the FDA website, retailers are not permitted to sell any tobacco product including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes to anyone under 21.

Saville says, in the long run, laws restricting young people are not in their best interest.

“It’s not contributing to us having responsible adults that make good choices in life,” she says.

Saville says that the type of prohibition happening on tobacco products has not worked in the past and will not work now.

“We need to find a different solution to problems other than just having the people who tell everybody what to do write some new rules on a piece of paper. It’s not effective!”

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