What appeared to be another kid wanting to purchase vaping products at a Battle Creek vape shop, was actually an undercover Battle Creek Police officer taking part in a sting operation.

Multiple community agencies and concerned parents had been in contact with the Battle Creek Police Department after the evidence of minors using vape products began to surge. In Michigan, you must be 21 to purchase tobacco products, including regular and e-cigarettes.  

On Tuesday, November 15th, Battle Creek Police conducted a sting on four vape shops. Out of the four shops targeted, two were busted for selling products to police officers posing as minors. A clerk at Froggy’s, on Capital Avenue NE, and another at Sam’s Discount and Party Store, on Carl Avenue and Dickman Road were charged. One of the clerks was arrested on six outstanding warrants. 

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For those of you who are not savvy about vaping, the CDC has some tips on the vape scene. The CDC website says that some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. They can even resemble USB flash drives, pens, and other items in your everyday life. They have their own slang names like “e-cigs”, “vapes” or “mods”. Most have a battery, a heating element, and a place to hold liquid. E-cigarettes may seem a safe alternative to regular cigarettes, but the CDC says that their use is unsafe for kids, teens, and young adults. Most contain nicotine which is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s.  

According to a Battle Creek Police press release, school resource officers in the Battle Creek area, along with the Substance Abuse Council, have worried about the number of students using vape products. Police have also received tips and complaints relating to local vape shops selling to minors. Authorities felt it was time to address the growing situation, and organized the sting operation.  

The word on the street is that anyone who would like information on quitting smoking and vaping should visit https://www.drugfreebc.org/. If you would like a one-on-one intervention, call the Substance Abuse Council at 269-326-4040. 

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