A new study published in the JAMA Pediatrics on March 2 reveals how easy it is for minors to get ahold of e-cigarettes. The study shows teens can easily buy e-cigs on the Internet due to lack of age verification.
It seems that most distributing sites care more about meeting their targets than teenager safety. This is true even in states where selling e-cigarettes to teens is a punishable crime.
Eleven teens participated in the study. All of them were living in North Carolina. Their age ranged from 14 to 17 years old, with none of them having a smoking history. The aim of the study was to see if participants managed to obtain e-cigarettes via Internet purchase. In North Carolina, it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes to minors.
The teens had to try to buy the nicotine products from 98 suppliers. The participants managed to purchase e-cigarettes from 75 vendors, without having to answer to any verifying questions. So, only five retailers rejected the orders due to their age.
Eighteen other vendors rejected the purchase but only because the stock was lacking the ordered products.
The team of researchers also wanted to see if there were any verifying methods used when delivering the ordered products. The participants were told they had to answer when the deliveries came. All products were successfully delivered. Although minors opened the door, the products were given to them without any verification. In most cases (95 percent of times), however, the packages were left at the door.
Scientists say their results are a cause for concern because although U.S. states are trying to reduce the level of e-cigs accessibility to teenagers, no real progress has been made. It seems that even in the states where it is prohibited to commercialize e-cigarettes to minors, they can easily obtain the products, no questions asked.
There is currently no federal law that forbids the sale of such products to minors, even though there is enough evidence that shows e-cigarettes can be just as addictive as the standard ones, due to their nicotine content. Researchers believe that it might take “several years before federal regulations are implemented.”
Up until now, there are 41 states planning to prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors but this might have little or no effect as they can easily obtain the products from Internet vendors.
Image Source: Mirror