Smoker Friendly Smoke Shop sits along a busy shopping center off Route 19 in Summersville. It is one of the many chain stores around West Virginia where managers, like Jamie Meadows, sell different tobacco products in addition to old fashioned cigarrettes, both inside the store, and even by a drive-thru.

“We sell a lot of the vape juices right now, the juul is a hot item for all ages, and the roll your own tobacco we sell a lot of that too,” Meadows said.

But Meadow’s clientele could soon change. A bill moving through the West Virginia Legislature would raise West Virginia’s minimum legal age for buying tobacco products from 18 to 21, and covers all tobacco and vaping products.

For Meadows, the new rules could impact her business since younger crowds are vaping. But since she’s also a mother, she explained it could be a benefit for teen health.

“As a manager, it’s going to have an impact on my store a little bit because the Juuls and the vaping things are cool with the younger 18-21 age,” Meadows said. “But as a mother it’s okay!”

While it brings in customers, vaping kick started a whole new generation of young, e-cig smokers, and Meadows said that smokers who are over 21 can still keep stores in business.

“I think my loyal customers will still be loyal and they’re still going to come,” Meadows said. “It’ll be alright.”

Similar bills are pending before lawmakers in several states, including Indiana, Illinois and Virginia.

Tedd Kwong, a spokesperson from the e-cigarette company, JUUL, reached out to 59News. He said the company fully supports the proposed bill to raise the legal minimum age. 

“We are committed to preventing youth access of JUUL products, and no young person or non-nicotine user should ever try JUUL. We cannot fulfill our mission to provide the world’s one billion adult smokers with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes if youth use continues unabated. 

“Tobacco 21 laws have been shown to dramatically reduce youth smoking rates, which is why we strongly support raising the minimum purchase age for all tobacco products, including vaping products like JUUL, to 21. Our secure website, JUUL.com, already requires all purchasers to be 21 and over. We look forward to working with policymakers at the federal, state and local levels to achieve Tobacco 21.”