Clearing up confusion surrounding legal tobacco age

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Since Dec. 20, people under 21 years old nationwide cannot buy tobacco anymore.

Springfield passed an ordinance last year that made the same age restriction, but surrounding areas are just now starting to feel the change.

When Springfield passed their ordinance restricting tobacco sales for those under 21, several stores KOLR10 spoke to outside of town saw an influx in business from 18 to 20-year-olds.

For places like Whiskey Tango Spirits and Tobacco in Ozark, Owner Daniel Scott says there were other places that teens would go to first.

“I think there’s probably too many stores in between us and Springfield, that if somebody was under 21 just wanting to get cigarettes, they were probably going to the first place they get to, just as a convenience,” Scott said.

Whiskey Tango mostly sells liquor, but they do offer many tobacco products. Scott isn’t overly worried about their bottom line even with the change in the new law.

“I mean we had a few clients that would come in that were under 21 but over 18,” Scott said. “So, obviously we will lose that business, but it was a small demographic, a small part of our business.”

But they have had to break the news to a few people who are no longer of age.

“All of them have been really good to work with and deal with,” Scott said. “We haven’t had any type of altercations or anything like that. They see the sign, didn’t realize that the law had already gone into effect, but we didn’t change the law so they were okay with it.”

Thanks to some software they have been using for a while now, they don’t expect anyone to come in with a fake ID either.

“We just open the app, hit scan ID, and when we scan the ID, it comes up and shows OK for 18 and OK for 21,” Scott said. “That checks for fake ID’s as well as being legal.”

“If it keeps us from losing our license, if we can’t sell those items, then it’s going to be tough for us to stay in business.”

Scott says that software is the same one used by the state of Missouri, and it’s called Age-ID, found on the app store and it costs them about $100 a month.

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