By Marielle Mohs

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The new year brought a new nationwide crackdown on vaping among teenagers.

You will now have to be 21 or older to buy tobacco products or e-cigarettes starting Feb. 1. And the Trump administration will ban most flavored vaping cartridges.

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Cap O’Rourke is the president of the Midwest Vapor Coalition.

“Businesses that have had to raise their age to 21 have seen a decline,” O’Rourke said.

Despite the hit to the bottom line for many Minnesota vaping stores, the coalition supports the age change.

“We need to have a regulation that limits the access for youth,” O’Rourke said.

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A federal ban aims at doing just that. President Donald Trump recently approved a ban on all e-cigarette flavors for pod system vapes like Juul. Menthol and tobacco flavors are still OK.

“We have concerns and we’re still wary about what’s going to be coming down from both state and federal regulators,” O’Rourke said.

He says the ban won’t put them out of business because they’re still able to sell flavors for open system vapes. Those devices are exempt from the ban and are only sold in vape stores. The liquid in it has 0% to 2% nicotine. Compare that to the liquid for a Juul or pod system vapes — which have 2.5 to 5 percent nicotine in then. Those liquids are mainly sold in convenient stores.

“It’s keeping the flavor in age restricted stores predominately and limiting youth access in the convenient stores,” he said.

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The Midwest Vapor Coalition says if you are a non-smoker, do not start using vapes or e-cigarettes. They say those devices are only designed to help smokers break their cigarette habit.

Marielle Mohs