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Local effect of age increase to buy tobacco, nicotine products

Smoke shop owner talks business effects of new law
Posted at 10:20 PM, Jan 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-03 00:20:16-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — Jackie Dugan said she left a 20-year career in mental health to start her own smoke shop in Tucson.

"I saw this as an opportunity to continue helping people without the stress."

Dugan said rules were different when she took a chance at starting her own business.

"I had a lot of regulars that were 18, not quite 21, I've already had to turn so many of them away since."

Dugan says it could affect customers who use some products for their medication, most notably medicinal marijuana, legal in Arizona since August 2019.

"They're going to have difficulty taking it," Dugan said.

"That'd be like us buying, say a syrup from our pharmacy that we needed but we didn't syringe."

Dugan said she's only allowed to sell products for use with tobacco, but she adds that parents are finding ways around new laws already.

"They'll come in and buy what their son or daughter needs."

Proponents have applauded the new law as a way of curbing vaping by minors, Dugan argues age is a relative issue.

"They're 18 and they can go in the service, they're 18 and they can vote. If they're 16, and do something stupid, they can be charged as an adult, but they're being you're not mature enough to make the decision about tobacco."

This law is effective as it stands, with no 'grandfather clause' for anyone who was of legal age before and used tobacco and nicotine products.