In Iowa and Illinois, persons under the age of 18 can legally purchase e-cigarettes. But one Muscatine, Iowa retailer is enforcing her own laws that the state does not.
No More Butts Vapor Lounge opened for business on December 4th, 2013.
The owner – Midge Haller – smoked cigarettes for 35 years until she tried the “Totally Wicked Liquid” e-cigarette. She was skeptical at first, but since that day she has not smoked a cigarette. She wanted to bring that accomplishment to people in Muscatine.
“I couldn’t get it off my mind,” said Haller, “Muscatine needs something like this.”
So Haller brought the e-cigarette business to Muscatine. Located off E. Second St, the shop is open for business, selling the same products that Haller doubted just months before.
Recently, legislators throughout the nation have been trying to enforce tighter regulations on the products. Iowa’s Attorney General Tom Miller is one of those.
“State legislators need to prohibit the sales of e-cigarettes to minors,” Miller said in a speech.
Haller agrees with legislators on this issue.
“This is not like a cigarette but it’s a great alternative,” said Haller, “It still has nicotine in it and I will not sell it to anyone under 18.”
This statement coming from a parent who knows what it feels like to find out their child started smoking.
“My son started smoking when he was 16,” she continued, “It about killed me when I found out,” she added.
Haller emphasizes to her customers that e-cigarettes are a great alternative to not only quit smoking, but to save money while doing it.
Alex Armstrong walks into the No More Butts Vapor Lounge and is greeted by Haller. Armstrong purchases two e-cigarettes for Christmas presents for his mother and stepfather. He is sold on the product.
“I’ve cut down from about a pack of cigarettes a day to a quarter of a pack,” he continued, “I save about $40 a week,” said Armstrong.
That’s the message Haller wants to send. She doesn’t want negative stereotypes to affect the community’s view of her business.
“We’re not a hookah bar nor are we a hedge shop, we don’t sell tobacco or alcohol, this is just a nice comfortable place where people can come in and find out what we are all about,” Haller said.