Unc study: minors easily buy e-cigarettes online

A new study out of UNC shows few online vendors have figured out a way to block minors from buying electronic cigarettes.

The study at UNC s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center included a group of teenagers who were recruited to go online and attempt to purchase nicotine e cigarettes from 98 vendors. The minors succeeded more than 90 percent of the time.

Rebecca Williams is the study s lead investigator.

It wasn t a surprising finding for us how easily teens could buy e cigarettes online because we ve seen similar findings in our previous studies of online cigarette sales to minors,» said Williams.

Williams says she s not surprised because there are no federal laws enforcing e cigarette online age verification.

And so without strictly enforced federal regulations, online e cigarette vendors have little motivation to decrease their profits by spending the time and money it takes to properly verify customer s age and reject underage buyers,» said Williams.

Williams says minors were able to buy e cigarettes despite a North Carolina law banning their purchase.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2013 that the number of teenagers smoking e cigarettes doubled between 201102012.

The study is published, online, in The Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics.

Campus debit cards let students buy cigarettes with parents’ money — sciencedaily

«Parents put money on these debit cards and kids spend the money. What parents don’t realize is that tobacco may be purchased with some of these college debit cards,» says Robert P. Dellavalle, MD, PhD, MSPH, investigator at the CU Cancer Center, associate professor of dermatology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and the study’s senior author.

Many colleges offer prepaid debit cards linked to students’ campus ID cards, that can be used either at on campus vending areas like bookstores and cafeterias, and/or at off campus vendors that act like preferred providers. Providers generally pay a premium to be included in these campus linked networks. The current study examined online lists of on and off campus vendors (with phone and email follow up as needed) to discover universities whose policies allow the sale of tobacco and e cigarettes within the campus debit card network.

In all, 94 of the 100 surveyed universities included an ID linked debit card program, with a total enrollment of 1,452,048 students. Previous research shows that of university students who smoke, 42 percent had used campus debit cards to purchase cigarettes.

«Cracking down on this ‘campus cash’ is a major opportunity for these colleges to take a step toward preventing tobacco use on their campuses,» says Lindsay Boyers, Georgetown University medical student working in the Dellavalle Laboratory, and the paper’s first author.

In addition to the direct health effects of tobacco and e cigarette products, the researchers point out that what is sold on campuses and within the networks of campus approved vendors can reflect what is deemed socially acceptable behavior.

«Universities shouldn’t be taking debit card fees from in network vendors selling tobacco products to their students,» Dellavalle says.

The paper suggests that, «As an organization dedicated to university health, the American College Health Association can take a stand on this issue by banning universities from selling tobacco products on campus and prohibiting debit card purchase of off campus tobacco products.»