A recently published study shows that underage people can easily get access to e-cigarettes via the Internet since nearly all major sites that sale the devices failed to check for their age even in states where selling e-cigs to minor is a punishable crime.
During their study, researchers involved 11 North Carolina teens aged 14 to 17 with no smoking history. The volunteers were asked to try to purchase e-cigarettes from 98 of internet-based vendors. In North Carolina such conduct is illegal, but out of 98 sites only five rejected the request because buyers were underage.
Ironically, 18 other orders were rejected due to other problems such as the merchandize not being in the stock. The other 75 orders were fully successful and no questions were asked.
Additionally, scientists planned to check whether there was an age checking procedure when the deliveries reached the family door. Surprisingly, although the minors answered the door and received the products no age verification was made. But nearly 95 percent of the time the deliveries were left at the teens’ house.
According to the authors of the study, these findings are quite disturbing for states that try to limit youth access to the electronic devices, as well as for parents that think that their kids are safe in a state that prohibits e-cigs commercialization to minors.
To this day, no federal law forbade the sale of the devices to teens, even though it had been proven that they can be as addictive as regular cigarettes due to the contained nicotine. Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it would expand its jurisdiction into e-cig industry as well. But there isn’t yet a codified law for it.
“It may be several years before federal regulations are implemented,”
Currently, 41 states barred or are about to prohibit the sale of e-cigs to minors across their territory. However, according to the new study’s results, minors can easily dodge legislation and buy the e-cigarettes on-line any time they want.
Rebecca S. Williams, co-author of the study and researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, urged state lawmakers to tighten legislation since on-line vendors have “little” or no motivation to abide by the law. It seems that profit margins are more important to most of them and few are willing to properly check their customers’ age.
The new study was published March 2 in JAMA Pediatrics.
Image Source: everyday HEALTH
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