In a study analyzing compliance with North Carolina’s electronic cigarette age-verification law, scientists have observed that minors are easily able to circumvent legislation and purchase electronic cigarettes from retailers through the Internet.
“Even despite state laws like North Carolina’s obliging age confirmation, most vendors keep on failing to confirm age as per the law, underscoring the need for vigilant enforcement,” said buy the authors of the study, published in JAMA Pediatrics journal.
Sales of e-cigarettes have been continually on the ascent since they first entered the US market in 2007. By 2013, it had turned into a $2 billion-a-year industry and experts foresee sales could reach $10 billion-a-year by 2017.
As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), rates of e-cigarette use among youngsters are likewise increasing quickly, twofold from 2011 to 2012. The CDC report that in 2013, more than a quarter of a million high school students had never smoked ordinary cigarettes yet had utilized e-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes are often depicted as a more secure option to smoking traditional cigarettes, in spite of the fact that groups like the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Mayo Clinic are careful about their nicotine substance and links with potentially cancer-causing substances.
At present, 41 states ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, including North Carolina. As per the study authors, though, further research has yet to be carried out to analyze age confirmation among Internet retailers that offer e-cigarettes.
For this study, Rebecca S. Williams of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and associates set out to analyze how often online sellers consented to North Carolina’s age-verification law.
‘E-cigarette vendors online operate in a regulatory vacuum’
The researchers’ selected 11 nonsmoking minors matured 14-17 to make e-cigarette purchases online with a credit card while under supervision. The minors made their buy attempt from computers at the project’s offices.
Almost 98 Internet e-cigarette vendors were targeted by the study. The minors effectively ordered e-cigarettes from 75 of these vendors and of the unsuccessful orders, just five failed because of age verification. As per the authors, this implied that 93.7 percent of the e-cigarette merchants researched failed to accurately confirm their clients’ ages.
Besides this finding, the e-cigarette packages were conveyed by shipping companies that all failed to verify the ages of the buyers upon delivery, with 95% of orders simply left at the door. The majority of the shipping companies concerned do not dispatch cigarettes to purchasers, as indicated by company policy and federal regulation.
According to the study findings, none of the online e-cigarette sellers followed North Carolina’s e-cigarette age-verification law.
“Lacking federal regulation, youth e-cigarette use has increased and e-cigarette vendors’ online work in a regulatory vacuum, utilizing few, if any, efforts to avoid sales to minors,” they wrote.
The results of this study will be of concern to those who are worried about the influence of e-cigarettes. The CDC also report that among nonsmoking youth who have ever used e-cigarettes, 43.9% say they “have intentions” to smoke conventional cigarettes, compared with 21.5% who have never used an e-cigarette.
“Federal law should require and enforce careful age verification for all e-cigarette sales as with the federal PACT (Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking) Act’s requirements for age verification in Internet cigarette sales,” study authors said.
Lately, Medical News Today reported on a study recommending that the introduction of new regulations that could modify the content of cigarettes is unlikely to significantly affect the current demand for illicit tobacco.