High rate of vapor products sold to minors

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LINCOLN, Neb. -- Kids under the age of 18 can't buy tobacco products or e-cigarettes.

In Lancaster County, police, sheriff's deputies and the health department make sure teens aren't buying these products through compliance checks. Those checks happen when a minor working with law enforcement goes in and tries to buy products.

During those checks last year, 21 percent of vaping businesses failed to ask for an I.D. and sold e-cigarettes to a kid. That's compared to 7 percent who didn't check for tobacco related products. A total of 22 businesses sold at least one tobacco or vapor product to a minor in 2017.

GNS Vapor, now Alohma, was on the list. In their business, they have signs outside, inside and at the cash register reminding customers they need to see an I.D. before any vapor purchases.

Devante King, assistant manager at the store, said, "We hate to turn people away, but even if I've seen your I.D. and someone else asks for it and you don't have it, then we'll have to decline."

A vaping device is an electronic cigarette and even though it's not smoking a regular cigarette, the verdict is still out on all of risks.

For more than 10 years, Molly Kincaid has been involved in a youth led anti-tobacco group. No Limits looks at how tobacco companies target minors.

"I think the biggest one that they use to attract the youth is their flavoring of the products," she said.

Kincaid also said there are nearly 7,700 e-cigarette flavors and nearly 240 flavors created every month.

The American Academy of Pediatrics cites a government study finding 81 percent of minors who use tobacco products started with a flavor product like e-cigarettes.

Last year was the first year local law enforcement officials did compliance checks for vapor products. LPD said it's happy with the tobacco sales to minors going down, but they're concerned about the e-cigarette sales increasing.