Looking to rip Juul? You can’t if you’re under 21 in VT



Mint Juul pods from Garcia’s Tobacco Shop on Church Street spill out of the box. “There’s really been an epidemic in vaping, specifically Juuling, among high schoolers, and high schoolers coming into college,” said Parker Holloway, program coordinator of Living Well.

Emma Pinezich, Cynic News Reporter

Starting Sept. 1, people under the age of 21 will no longer be able to buy tobacco products, including Juuls and vapes, in the state of Vermont.

Known as “Tobacco 21,” this law was signed into effect by Gov. Phil Scott in May in an effort to reduce tobacco and e-cigarette use among youth in Vermont, according to the bill.

Vermont joins 17 other states who have passed legislation changing the age of sale and possession from 18 to 21.
The legislation was proposed in 2016 and 2017 but failed both times. This year’s success is likely due to increased concerns among lawmakers about vaping, according to State Sen. Philip Baruth, who sponsored the bill.

According to Baruth, e-cigarette companies have successfully targeted young people, increasing the use of vaping products among youth as opposed to traditional cigarettes.

However, this has become a major concern because e-cigarettes are also bad for your health.

“‘Your clothes smell when you smoke, your lungs deteriorate when you smoke, but vaping— look at how clean and cool it can be,’ and so there’s been a resurgence among young people in trying and staying with nicotine delivered by the vape pen,” Baruth said.

UVM has adjusted its tobacco and other drug use policy to mirror the new legislation, according to an email Dr. Harry Chen, chief public health officer, sent to the UVM community.

Almost all adult smokers start before age 25, and the increased use of e-cigarettes has led to higher rates of smoking in youth, Chen stated.

Lily Sharp
Juniors Nora Johnson and Ari Audy take hits from their Juuls. The Juul and other e-cigarettes’ ease of use make them attractive to many college students.

E-cigarette use itself has been associated with health problems. There have been 193 cases of severe lung disease and one death to date, according to the Center for Disease Control.

In late August, someone died in Illinois that appeared to be linked to e-cigarette use, according to an Aug. 23 New York Times article.

Last spring, Living Well created a tobacco-free student ambassador task force to provide students with resources to quit and inform the campus community about the harms of smoking, said Parker Holloway, the program coordinator of Living Well.

“There’s really been an epidemic in vaping, specifically Juuling, among high schoolers, and high schoolers coming into college,” Holloway said.

Students who are under 21 will no longer be able to buy or possess the products many are addicted to, according to the legislation.

Junior Mackenzie Clark uses a Juul and thinks that although the legislation will be difficult for some students to handle because they won’t be able to get their fix, it will also help a lot of students quit, he said.

“I feel fantastic because I don’t want to Juul anymore, I want to quit, and that really helps because I can’t buy it anymore,” Clark said.

However, Clark thinks older students will likely start buying Juul pods to sell them to underage students at a higher price, creating an underground black market, he said.

Baruth also thinks the legislation will not eliminate all underage tobacco use due to an underground market, he said.

“There will always be people that buy beer for people who are underage, there will always be people that buy cigarettes for people who are underage,” Baruth said. “I think there’s always going to be a black market, and you can’t stop illegal activity altogether.”