NORTH CAROLINA – Of a truth, there is no federal regulation in place banning minors from purchasing E-cigarettes in the United States, but 41 prohibit the sales of e-cigs to minors online and offline, with digital mechanisms to confirm actual ages when online orders are placed – but in reality, this is never found to be the case.
A research funded by the National Cancer Institute in North Carolina recruited a group of teenagers and asked them to buy e-cigs from 98 online retailers; and despite the fact that sale of electronic cigs are banned to minors in most US states, 75 out of the total 98 orders placed were processed successfully.
Eighteen of the orders could not get through due to web-related and technical problems, and this indicates that only 5 attempted purchases were blocked out because of age verification mechanisms. Meaning that attempts by teens and minors to buy e-cigs online were always 93.7% successful.
It must be pointed that that intentionally inputting false information and lying about actual age could thwart attempts by e-cigs online retailers to detect the age of the buyer, and this might have contributed to the high number of success recorded by minors trying to buy e-cigs online; but 5 of the vendors stated they use shipping companies that verify the age of the buyer at product delivery, but none of them actually did this.
“Without strictly enforced federal regulations, online e-cigarette vendors have little motivation to decrease profits by spending the time and money it takes to properly verify customers’ age and reject underage buyers” said Dr. Rebecca S. Williams, principal investigator of the study and member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The Food and Drug Administration in 2014 proposed that e-cigarettes by filed under the same category as tobacco under federal law, meaning that selling them to minors would be prohibited, but then implementing this proposal might take another two years.
Many are not surprised at the result of this study, given that 17.1% of 12th graders reported in a 2014 survey conducted by the University of Michigan that they used e-cigarettes within the last month previous to the survey publication.
Source: University of North Carolina