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Friday, March 6, 2015

E-Cigarettes Easily Obtained by Teens Via the Internet

The growing popularity of e-cigarettes has many concerned about the lack of regulation and the fruity flavor e-juice appeal to teenagers. While most ‘vape shops’ require the employees to I.D. customers, new research suggest that teens are able to purchase e-cigarettes online with ease because websites selling e-cigarettes do not verify the age of purchasers, HealthDay reports. There are currently forty-one states that have banned e-cigarette sales to minors.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina had 11 teenagers, ages 14 to 17, buy e-cigarettes from 98 online vendors, which resulted in 75 successful purchases. Also of interest, of the 23 rejections, only five were due to age verification, meaning almost 94 percent of e-cigarette sellers did not verify their customers’ ages, according to the article.

The researchers believe that there should be a federal law to require and enforce age verification for all e-cigarette vendors, as it does for online sales of regular cigarettes.

“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,” the researchers wrote in JAMA Pediatrics. “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 careful enforcement.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will meet soon to discuss e-cigarette regulations, but in the mean time parents should do their best to explain to their children that nicotine is addictive.

The findings were published in JAMA Pediatrics.

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