Teen-friendly nicotine flavors fill shelves, Kansas lawmakers take action

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The popular vape brand Juul eliminated the sale of certain flavors in stores last fall, but now knock-off flavor pods are sweeping the market.

Juul is saying these look-alike sweet, dessert flavors need to be regulated as well.

Monir Ahmed at Elite Tobacco and Vape in Topeka says as of August 1, certified Juul sellers were hit with new restrictions.

He says he can only sell two Juul devices and five packs of pods per person, per day.

“Sometimes underage, they’re sending somebody else and they buy bulk and hand it over to them,” Ahmed said.

While the City of Topeka increased the age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21 in June, some lawmakers want to make that a statewide change.

The State Board of Education set up a vaping task force earlier this year.

The board is making sure schools across the state will have flyers and pamphlets that educate students about the side effects.

“Kids leave their classrooms about the same time, going in and getting a hit, charging [other] kids for a hit,” said Michelle Dombrosky, with the Kansas State Board of Education. “When they threw out everything onto the table, in front of the parents, parents were like, this looks like normal stuff, a flash drive.”

Members of the task force are saying for that reason it starts with parents.

“The vaping industry has gotten the message out that it’s just water vapor,” said Mark Thompson with the Kansas Department of Education.

Juul pulled popular flavors from the stores in an attempt for the brand to self-regulate itself following FDA pressure, but also as a way to fix its image.

Now Ahmed can only sell tobacco, menthol and mint flavors.

It’s caused a boom in knock-off Juul products around the country with flavors like fruit loops and cheesecake that have taken over the market.

Popular Juul flavors like creme, fruit, and mango are still available on their website. Juul also says they’ve made age-verification stricter online.

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