STATE COLLEGE — The newest store at the Nittany Mall is a little different than the others.
When you walk into Blue Monkey Vapes, the first thing you have to do is show a form of identification because those under the age 18 are not allowed in the store. The store sells nicotine vaporization products, and to keep anyone under the age of 18 out, the owners have a strict ID carding policy. This has rubbed a few the wrong way since the store opened Monday April 15, said store manager Eli Israel.
“We run this like a liquor store. You have to have your ID to come in. It is both to cover their tail and cover ours,” said Israel. “’I’ve had a few folks, who were obviously older than me, come in and they ask ‘why do I need to show my ID? I’m old enough to be your mother,’ but it is just one of those things.”
The store is the latest non-clothing related retail store to open at the changing mall, and Israel said the location is a good fit for the Ocean City, Md.-based company that boasts more than 34 locations and its own line of vaping products. Israel said it is primarily focused on following rules and regulations, such as the carding policy, and selling only its own line of products.
Of course, vaping is a trending topic, with concerns about the products’ health implications and the rise of teenage vaping. Recent bills in the state look to ban people of any age to use vaping products in schools and potentially raising the age of tobacco usage to 21 in the state.
For Israel though vaping made a big difference in his life, allowing him to quit smoking cigarettes and use a form of nicotine that he feels is better for him.
“I had been smoking cigarettes since I was about 13 or14. I transferred on to this when I was 18. Here recently they have been talking about switching it (the legal age to vape) to 21 and I don’t think that will be good for anybody. But, we of course, have to follow all the rules and laws,” said Israel.