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Rule stems from 2020 Feinstein, Cornyn bill, extends current shipping restrictions for tobacco products to e-cigarettes, including age verification requirements

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) today announced that a new safeguard regarding the shipping and delivery of e-cigarette products is scheduled to take effect April 26.

The new rule is required by the senators’ legislation, the Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act, which was signed into law in December 2020. It will require e-cigarettes to be subject to the same shipping restrictions as traditional cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products, which will limit availability to minors.

The United States Postal Service already prohibits mailing cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products, except in narrowly defined circumstances. By placing e-cigarettes under the same restrictions, internet sellers will now be required to use a different method of delivery capable of verifying the age of the person accepting the final delivery. Delivery companies, including FedEx, UPS and DHL, have also incorporated e-cigarette products into their restrictions on the shipment of tobacco products. 

“E-cigarette use among America’s youth is widespread and growing,” Feinstein said, “and age verification frequently doesn’t happen. With the implementation of these new restrictions, customers must now verify their age before shipment and again upon delivery, the same requirements already in place for traditional cigarettes. This is a big step toward preventing these products from falling into the hands of children.”

“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 applaud this rule that will help stop this generation of young Americans from developing unhealthy addictions.”

Background:

  • The Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act, introduced by Senators Feinstein and Cornyn, was signed into law as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.
  • The CDC reports that more than 3 million high school students and 550,000 middle school students used e-cigarettes in 2020.
  • According to a national survey published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, online purchasing became the predominant source of purchasing e-cigarettes since the onset of the pandemic.

The Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act was 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. 

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