With e-cigarette maker Juul looking at SC plant, industry influence could follow

COLUMBIA — Some S.C. lawmakers are pleased with the prospect of e-cigarette maker Juul Labs bringing a plant to the Midlands because of the jobs it would create, but anti-tobacco advocates see something much different: more money and influence for the industry.

Juul is considering an industrial park site near Columbia Metropolitan Airport in Lexington County for a plant that reportedly would employ about 825 people, according to state Sen. Katrina Shealy, R-Lexington. That would provide well-paying jobs, especially needed by those in nearby rural areas, Shealy said.

“My people in Lexington County are always looking for more jobs,” she said.

A Juul spokesman, Ted Kwong, declined to confirm the company’s interest in coming to South Carolina.

“We are continuously evaluating various new opportunities that can support our growth and help us give back to local communities,” Kwong said in a statement.

The company, however, has placed ads on job placement websites for manufacturing oversight and quality control positions at a Columbia-area Juul plant.

State Rep. Beth Bernstein, the Columbia Democrat who sponsored a recently enacted law aimed at curbing teen vaping, doesn’t have an objection to the plant. Her bill made it unlawful for those under 18 even to be present in a smoke shop unless accompanied by an adult and added tighter rules to verify identification for online sales.

Read more at https://www.postandcourier.com

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