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Local smoke shop worries how new Illinois tobacco age limit will impact business

MOLINE, Illinois  --  Illinois Governor, JB Pritzker, signed a new law Sunday, April 7, raising the state's legal smoking age to 21. This means anyone under the age of 21 can no longer purchase any tobacco products. The new law goes in to effect on July 1st, 2019. Illinois is the eighth state to raise the smoking age to 21. The Manager of The Smoking Pipe Shop in Moline says he's worried about business.

"It's going to be rough in the beginning, manager Trever Gray said. "It'll be interesting to see how much it actually affects sales."

Gray says he sees customers from ages 18 to 70. "I have a lot of customers," he said. "A lot of them are the ages 18 or 19."

The shop sells alternatives to cigarettes, like vape gear, e-juice, and tobacco pieces. Gray says he helps a lot of his customers quit smoking cigarettes by showing them alternatives.

"I save people's lives in my own little way," he said. "I get them off smoking."

Governor Pritzker said the health of young people is more important than the economic benefit of tobacco sales.

"I urge the neighboring states to pass tobacco 21," Pritzker said after signing the new law.

"We can have older siblings buy it for us," Moline resident Jessica Rocha said. "I know parents that give it to their kids, so it does not really matter the age."

"They are going to find somebody to buy it for them," Gray said. "I don`t think it's going to stop them from vaping."

Starting in July, Gray will not allow anyone in his shop without an ID of 21 or older.

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