Governor Signs New Underage Tobacco Prevention Act
Gov. Mark Sanford has said underage smoking in South Carolina exceeds the national average.
On Thursday, Sanford signed the Youth Tobacco Prevention Act, a bill that makes it tougher for teens to light up.
WYFF News 4's Tracy Atwood reported that many believe it's a step in the right direction, but there's also a long way to go.
The new law will fine an underage buyer $25 for buying tobacco products and would also impose penalties on those who sell to underage buyers.
Many teens, however, don't see the necessity of the law.
"Personally, I don't think it's right," said one teen, Ian Crawford. "It's kind of like our choice."
Some hinted that the law might not make a serious impact.
"Some places don't card you at all, and then some places just ask you for your birthday, so it's easy for you to lie," said another teen, Jenna Ferguson.
Still, some supporters of the legislation, like Quentin James, who works with the Rage Against the Haze group, believe it's a step in the right direction.
"Our mission is to educate people about the harmful uses of tobacco and about how the tobacco industry targets youth to come to their products," James said.
James, who mentors teens against tobacco use, said the law is "a good step to try to prevent youth access to tobacco products."
James told WYFF News 4 that adequate funding for programs like the new law would accomplish much more.
"If our government and our leaders actually invest in youth development, then we can make the change and not have to depend on them always," James said.
The new law takes effect Aug. 21.