LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — The Gwinnett County Solicitor General's office is preparing to take action against Gwinnett County vape shops because he says they are marketing specifically to children and teens.
Gwinnett County's Solicitor General Brian Whiteside told 11Alive that he went undercover and visited vape shops in Gwinnett County where he and members of his staff discovered that some stores carried merchandise that infringe upon Disney and SEGA's copyright.
Whiteside showed 11Alive products that depict Goofy with marijuana leaves for pupils and Mario with red eyes appearing to be under the influence of marijuana.
He says these products are designed to specifically target children and teens.
"These items, in my opinion, are designed to be an attractive nuisance that attracts young people and teenagers into these shops," Whiteside said.
Whiteside also told 11Alive that this cartoon-laced merchandise is an incentive for people under the age of 18 to use a fake ID to purchase vapes.
"The most important thing is that these shops are attracting teenagers and young people to the shops and at that point, they would be using these products illegally," he said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found lung illnesses in people with a history of e-cigarettes or vaping.
President Donald Trump also proposed a ban on thousands of flavors of e-cigarettes amid reports of health issues.
Marino Ramos is the owner of the Heated Coil Vape Shop in Lawrenceville. He told 11Alive that he takes a strong position against marketing vape devices to children and teens.
"I remember when we opened four years ago, a lot of young people used to hang out in here and we kept anyone under 18 out because we didn't want that hang out," he said.
Solicitor General Whiteside said the implications of a store marketing products to children and teens are far-reaching.
"I'm afraid we have some unscrupulous people in Gwinnett County. If you sell an unlicensed product, what would you sell to a child," he said.
Whiteside told 11Alive that he will be sending a letter to Gwinnett County vape shops requesting they abstain from selling these unlicensed products.
He said that he will also be sending a letter to executives at Disney and SEGA Friday to notify them that some local vape shops are using their likeness. He is also requesting to have a conversation with Disney and SEGA about ways to fix this issue.
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