Law enforcement clamps down on youthful smokers

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Since 2006, smoking has been illegal for those under 18. In January 2016, the Legislature raised the legal smoking age to 21 and expanded the law to include the increasingly popular electronic cigarette, a device used to simulate smoking tobacco by turning liquid nicotine, flavored oils and other chemicals into vapor.

Those under the age limit who are caught smoking will be fined $10. Further offenses can result in a $50 fine and possible community service. Retailers who sell e-cigarettes to people under 21 will be fined $500 for the first offense and anything up to $2,000 for future incidents.

E-cigarettes were first invented in 2003 in Beijing, China, by pharmacist Hon Lik, who is  a smoker.

Despite supposedly being safer than tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarettes can pose serious health threats. Betobaccofree.hhs.gov states that studies done on the safety of e-cigarettes have not been submitted to the U.S Food and Drug Administration (USDA), so the chemicals used in e-cigarettes are generally unknown. In 2009, the FDA discovered cancer-causing chemicals in two popular brands of  e-cigarettes and 18 different cartridges inside different devices.  

E-cigarettes are also too recent to fully determine their effects on the human body.

Though smokers can obtain e-cigarettes legally, it is illegal for people under the age of 21 to smoke them.