Washington—Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) today announced passage of The Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act, legislation to prevent online sales of electronic cigarettes to minors. The bill applies the same safeguards already in place for traditional cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products, and was included as part of the omnibus federal spending bill for fiscal year 2021.
“We’re facing a youth vaping crisis that’s being exacerbated by the pandemic,” Feinstein said. “Young people who use e-cigarettes are now five times more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19. We must stop this vaping crisis by preventing minors from buying vaping devices in the first place. Requiring age verification to buy e-cigarettes on the internet will go a long way toward lowering addiction rates among our youth.”
“The use of electronic cigarettes among children has become more and more pervasive, with a third of underage users buying e-cigarettes online,” said Cornyn. “I look forward to President Trump signing this into law so we can help stop this generation of young Americans from developing unhealthy addictions.”
The bill requires online e-cigarette retailers to:
- Verify the age of customers for all purchases.
- Require an adult with ID to be present for delivery.
- Label shipping packages to show they contain tobacco products.
- Comply with all state and local tobacco tax requirements.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 3 million high schools students used electronic cigarettes in 2018, a 78 percent increase over the previous year. Today, one in five U.S. high school students report using e-cigarettes, which have become the most commonly used tobacco products by youth in the United States.
A survey published in the American Journal of Health Promotion found that 32 percent of underage e-cigarette users reported purchasing products online, making online sales the single largest source of purchases for underage users.
The bill is supported by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, California Physicians Alliance, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Children's Health Fund, Go2Foundation for Lung Cancer, National Alliance for Hispanic Health, National Association of Convenience Stores and Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America.