Surplus of smoke shops raises concerns

Photo courtesy of Canva artist FankvandenBergh

E-cigarettes, or vapes, are much more popular among Americans under 30 than those over 30—one in every five Americans under 30 vapes regularly. So in Tallahassee after every mile, there’s at least one smoke shop waiting on the corner and a revolving door of college students running in and out.

Because the brain does not completely develop until age 25, exposure to nicotine can lead to long-lasting cognitive and behavioral problems, such as attentional problems, difficulties learning, and a higher risk of addiction, including addiction to other substances. Typically, a tobacconist’s shop, often known as a smoke shop, sells tobacco products in a variety of forms as well as the accessories that go with them, including pipes, lighters, matches, pipe cleaners, and pipe tampers.

Unfortunately, these shops are put around college campuses due to Geographic density. This method is used to cater to the fast-growing market for electronic cigarettes. According to The National Library of Medicine, by using a geographic information system, they determined the prevalence of vape shops in the United States and their density and proximity to colleges. A general linear model and negative binomial regression were used to investigate the factors associated with the proximity and density of vape shops near colleges. 

In 2022, the total enrollment at Florida State University, both undergraduate and graduate, will be 43,569 students. Combine this number with Florida A&M University, and we’re looking at over 50,000 students exposed to many shops. Some residents of the Tallahassee area needed to realize how frequently these stores have appeared. Gabriel Kenon, Installer, said time must fly.

“Out of all the years I have lived here, it amazes me how I see more smoke shops put up than actual buildings that could benefit the community,” said Kenon.

Smoke shops benefit from these major profits as an average successful smoke shop makes about $300,000 annually. Unfortunately, although these smoke shops generate money and supply objects to influence smoking, health hazards will continue to rise. According to Health Risks of Smoke, side effects like nasal sinuses, voice box, and Nasopharynx(part of the throat) can extremely affect the body.

Alexa Wells, Engineering Student, says that even though the smoke shops encourage addiction, she frequently goes.

“As a college student, I get stressed a lot due to the amount of work. I used to not get into the whole “Juul” thing, but once I saw my friends do it, I couldn’t help but try. Now I carry it like my keys and use it randomly through the day”, said Wells.

Health officials encourage young adults to do at-home remedies to prevent certain illnesses from occurring. If one ever needs help, a helpful tip is to visit their nearest Minute clinic or Urgent Care. At home, tricks to use are drinking tea and steamed showers will slowly open airways to the lungs. 

A local Patients First clinic representative in the Tallahassee area explained college students don’t like to come in for treatment.

“Oftentimes when patients come in with problems related to the effects of smoking like wheezing and in need of treatment due to the obsessive inhalation.”

For more information on smoke shops and the effects of smoking, visit‎.