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‘Secret Shopper’ Study Reveals Easy Accessibility Of E-cigs To Teens

Despite age restrictions being placed on vaping and tobacco product sales, a new study detected that ID checking was done only half of the time. FDA requires ID to be checked for the people below 27 years of age and tobacco products are banned for those under 21 in California. However, these shops are not compliant at all with these laws, as per Roeseler, who headed this study. She is the chief of CTCP in Sacramento. Those retailers who flout these rules can lose their license, she said. This study poked holes in the FDA’s proposal of allowing vaping product sale only in adult-restricted shops. Altria and Juul’s claims that the current e-cigarette trend in youth could be stopped by increasing minimum age were also undermined here.

Vince Willmore of CTFK stated that increasing minimum age wasn’t the solution. It is important to completely ban products, which are addictive to children. Many older teenagers were sent to purchase vaping products and cigarettes. Over half of the shops didn’t check their ID. 44.7% shops sold them their products. California, Oklahoma and North Carolina suffer from this problem, with underage sales at 20%. Stanton Glantz stated that while California’s compliance rates were thought to be higher due to stricter processes, this research digs holes in that theory.

It has been proposed that these products be placed in adult areas of these shops. However, their enforceability is suspect. Glantz stated that age restrictions were only nominally enforced, meaning that e-cigarette usage cannot be curbed effectively this way. Simply banning their sale would work though, he stated. The researchers also suggested accountability procedures to be tabulated among members of the supply chain in tobacco, retailer education measures, and enforcement. States can pitch in as well, by increasing minimum age to over 21, restricting flavored tobacco sales, prohibiting displays about self-service and using non-tax and tax devices to raise prices. This report appeared in JAMA Pediatrics.

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