Local sales of vapor products to minors increases in 2020

Published: Dec. 30, 2020 at 2:45 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Local authorities said Wednesday that vapor product sales to minors in Lancaster County have increased for the second consecutive year, jumping from 7.25 percent in 2019 to 13.5 percent this year.

LPD Captain Jason Stille said the sharp increase, combined with a 1.5 percent increase in the sale of other tobacco products to minors, is a growing concern.

“Despite the risks from vaping, we believe social influences continue to drive young people to use vapor products. Collectively, our local retailers have placed great attention on denying sales to minors, and we appreciate their efforts,” Stille said.

Vapor products are regulated by the FDA as tobacco products. They include e-cigarettes and any device that is capable of containing a substance, often nicotine, for inhalation.

During 2020, through compliance checks, youth volunteers made 321 attempts to purchase tobacco or vapor products from convenience stores, tobacco shops, and vapor shops.

Attempts to purchase vapor products accounted for 52 (16 percent) of the 321 total checks. Local agencies added vapor compliance checks to their annual tobacco compliance checks in 2017.

“Working in partnership provides valuable perspectives, critical expertise, and needed resources to help address tobacco and vapor sales to minors,” said LSO Captain Mike Peschong. “We know youth get most of their vapor and tobacco products from social sources. We urge everyone to be diligent and to not provide products to youth under 21.”

Retailers have been directed to follow the recently amended state law raising the minimum tobacco and vapor product purchase age to 21. This change went into effect October 1, 2020. Prior to that, the state sales age was 19.

“We are happy that the state law was amended to bring Nebraska into compliance with the federal minimum purchase age. This should help retailers as well by simplifying age requirements,” said Sophia Yelkin, Health Educator with LLCHD.

Retail locations with more than one sale of a tobacco or vapor product to a minor during 2020 were the Phillips 66 at 1648 South St. and Kwik Shop at 2940 N. 14th St.

The following retail locations had one sale of a tobacco or vapor product to a minor during 2020:

  • Big Red Vapor, 4640 Bair #108
  • Casey’s , 4411 N 27th St.
  • Cheapest Damn Cigarettes, 4821 Cornhusker Hwy
  • Cloud 9, 5202 Old Cheney
  • D&K Smoke Shop Ste. 2, 2441 N. 48th St.
  • Good 2 Go, 2641 Fairfield St.
  • Kwik Shop, 4400 “O” St.
  • Schmick’s Market, 1340 W. “O” St.
  • Shell, 1107 Belmont
  • Stop-N-Shop, 2200 N. 48th St.
  • Super C, Ticonderoga Dr.
  • Super C, 745 S. 21st St.
  • U-Stop, 2925 NW. 12th St.
  • U-Stop, 1301 South St.
  • U-Stop, 5600 S 56th St.
  • U-Stop, 110 W “O” St.
  • U-Stop, 5240 S. 48th St.
  • Casey’s, 10200 S. 158th St., Bennet
  • Cubby’s, 13821 Guildford St., Waverly

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