Washington – Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) released the following statements after the House of Representatives passed the Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act yesterday. This legislation, introduced in the House by Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.), would prevent online sales of electronic cigarettes to minors by applying the same safeguards already in place for regular cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products. The legislation is a House companion to a Senate bill introduced by Feinstein and Cornyn earlier this year.
“The most common way for children to purchase e-cigarettes is to buy them online. We need to stop that from happening,” said Sen. Feinstein. “With a burgeoning health crisis tied to vaping, we must act to prevent underage users from getting addicted to nicotine. Requiring online vendors to verify the age of their customers is a commonsense fix, just as is already done for online cigarette sales. I’m pleased to see the House pass this bill with broad bipartisan support and I urge the Senate to do the same swiftly so we can curb children’s access to these addictive and harmful devices.”
“Electronic cigarette use among minors has skyrocketed, and many high school students are making these purchases online,” said Sen. Cornyn. “I applaud the House for passing this legislation to reduce underage smoking by treating a child’s attempted purchase of e-cigarettes online the same as other tobacco products, and I look forward to bringing it to the Senate floor soon.”
The Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act would require e-cigarette online 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 product by youth in the United States.
A recent 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.
In addition to Senators Feinstein and Cornyn, the bill is cosponsored by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), David Perdue (R-Ga.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.).
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.