An underage vaping operation conducted Friday night by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office saw six clerks charged with selling Juul pods to customers under the age of 21.
All six clerks were issued a summons under a new Virginia law that took effect in July 2019. Virginia Code 18.2-371.2 prohibits the purchase, possession, and sale of tobacco products, nicotine vapor products, and alternative nicotine products to persons under 21 years of age.
The underagevape operation visited 33 retail locations in the Ashburn Station area. Eleven of the locations recently stopped selling vape products. Nine locations have installed scanners for driver’s licenses which are required to complete the purchase of tobacco/vape products and alcohol. The scanners will invalidate the sale if the license has a birthdate indicating the buyer is under the age of 21. Out of the 13 remaining businesses, six clerks at the following locations sold to the underage buyers:
• Nash Vapes and Cigars – Creek View Plaza
• Tobacco Hut- Vape & CBD – Ashbrook Commons Plaza
• Exxon – Ryan Center Way
• Tobacco Hut & Vape Village – Broadlands Center Plaza
• Shell – Ice Rink Plaza
• Exxon – Flagstaff Plaza
All six clerks were released on a Virginia Uniform Summons.
“The operation sends a clear message to shop owners to take the appropriate steps to ensure tobacco, vape, and alcohol products are not making it into the wrong hands. It’s the law,” said Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman.
Last year the LCSO launched a vaping educational campaign to warn parents and teenagers alike of the potential dangers of vaping. The warning came on the heels of a surge in vaping-related illnesses and deaths.
In Loudoun County, the LCSO begins discussing vaping devices in the D.A.R.E. program at both the elementary and middle school level. The agency also delivers a series of educational forums on vaping in coordination with Loudoun County Public Schools. In an informational video produced by the LCSO, Sheriff Chapman said vapes “have become popular among teenagers nationally at epidemic levels, and because they emit very low amounts of vapor or aerosol, they are often used during school hours, in school bathrooms and even classrooms.” He added, “in Loudoun County vapes have been found on students in both middle and high school.”
Please visit sheriff.loudoun.gov/vapes to find important resources for parents, including a tip sheet on how to talk to your teen about vaping.