CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (CBS Atlanta) Teens in the U.S. can easily buy electronic cigarettes online, a new study finds.
“In the absence of federal regulation, youth e cigarette use has increased and e cigarette sellers online operate in a regulatory vacuum, using few, if any, efforts to prevent sales to minors, Rebecca Williams, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, noted in the study.
Researchers supervised 11 teens in North Carolina between the ages of 14 and 17 as they tried to buy e cigarettes from 98 sellers online. The teens were able to buy e cigarettes 75 times. Sales were denied 18 times due to either the website being down or having a broken payment system. Only five times were the teens denied because of an age check.
Even in the face of state laws like North Carolina s requiring age verification, most vendors continue to fail to even attempt to verify age in accordance with the law, underscoring the need for carful enforcement, the researchers concluded in their study.
Presently, 41 states ban the sale of e cigarettes to minors however, it is not clear how well the sellers comply with the law.
North Carolina passed an age verification law to purchase e cigarettes in 2013.
The e cigarettes that were purchased were delivered by major delivery companies that do not allow shipment of regular cigarettes to consumers under their own policies.
The delivery service did not verify the consumer s age, most times they just left the package at the door.
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