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Local smoke shops outraged after tobacco law passes

Posted at 7:18 AM, Dec 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-30 07:19:49-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Smoke shops are taking a hit after a new tobacco law gets passed across the country.

It's now illegal for anybody to sell tobacco products to someone under the age of 21.

That applies to everything from cigarettes and vaping.

ABC 27 didn't talk to a single retailer today who was a fan of the law.

The owner of Xtreme Gift and Smoke Shop says this takes away money from him and people's rights as Americans.

"It's your life as an American as an adult. You have that right to make that wrong decision or right decision," said Malachi Poppell, Xtreme Gift Shop and Smoke Shop Owner

Malachi Poppell has owned Xtreme Gift Shop and Smoke Shop for about three years.

He says what lawmakers did is a huge mistake.

"You can drive a vehicle...which is a lethal weapon in my 18. Any and all decisions you can make as an adult in America. Why say you can't vape? It doesn't make sense to me," said Poppell.

Poppell says with the new bill, he's losing about a third of his customers.

He says it just doesn't make sense to do it in the first place.

He isn't alone.

Daniel Warren blames poor planning as there's still few details on the change in law and no clear direction on how to proceed.

"I don't feel like they gave it much thought...they just pushed it aside. They should have grandfathered it in like a 4-3-2-1...bringing the 18-year olds to the law and have the 21-year-olds...just be with it," said Daniel Warren, Xtreme Gift Shop and Smoke Shop Assistant Manager.

While it's not completely clear when the change would take effect

Poppell doesn't think it will have a huge dent on business in the long run.

"We'll still be successful. It's not even about the age. They're blowing it out of proportion when they say all these young people vaping," said Poppell.

President Trump signed the restriction as the part of a U.S. spending bill of about 1.4 trillion dollars.

Other parts of it are: giving troops a raise, creating the space force, Southern border wall funding and repealing the "Cadillac Tax" on health plans.