Milan smoke shop reacts to proposed bill that aims to raise Illinois’ legal smoking age

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MILAN-- Glass smoking pipes, vapes and flavors are all inside the Smoking Pipe Shop, Glass and Vape store in Milan, Monday, February 12.

Manager Trevor Gray says he sees new young patients just about every day.

“Just the other day I served someone 18 years old yesterday, like the day before I saw them and that happens quite often,” says Gray.

But Illinois lawmakers could change all that. The General Assembly introduced a bill that will raise the smoking age from 18 to 21.

“I kind of assumed it was coming because we were aiming for a smoke free country in the future. I just didn't think it would be coming so soon,” says Gray.

If the bill passes, the shop would lose about $60,000 in sales.

Although the new rule would stop employees from selling to minors, they doubt it is enough to keep teens from getting tobacco products.

“When I was young the law did not matter. I was smoking cigarettes, I had ways and people to buy them for me. I had ways to get the things that I wanted (and teens) will too,” says employee Aaron Slavish.

The new rule, Gray says could also hurt young tobacco users trying to quit as well. He weaned himself from cigarettes through vaping. However, under the proposed bill, he can’t sell vapes either.

"It’s an electronic nicotine delivering device and anything associated with that, even if it has no nicotine what so ever, it is still considered tobacco, “says Gray.

Putting teens in a tough place, Gray says between addiction and kicking the habit.