Congress Introduces Bill Targeting Online E-Cigarette Sales to Minors

The companion measure introduced in the House seeks to close the loophole of online sales to youth.

July 25, 2019

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Yesterday, U.S. Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) introduced the Preventing Online Sale of E-Cigarettes to Children Act. The legislation is the companion bill to S. 1253 introduced by U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) this spring. The legislation seeks to prevent online sales of e-cigarettes to minors by applying the same measures already in place for cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products purchased online.

NACS has strongly advocated for legislation to close the loophole that teens use to acquire e-cigarettes through the internet. To do this, Congress simply needs to update the current law under the 2009 Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act, which requires online sellers of cigarettes to ensure that the age of the purchaser is verified by the delivery carrier and that the appropriate taxes are collected. The original PACT Act was signed into law after receiving broad bipartisan support; however, it did not include e-cigarettes since they did not exist at the time. The legislation introduced in the Senate this spring and in the House yesterday seeks to correct this issue.

“The convenience store industry strongly supports this commonsense legislation that would close the internet loophole of teens acquiring e-cigarettes,” said Anna Ready, NACS director of government relations. “According to a study published by the American Journal of Health Promotion, the most common retail source of e-cigarettes to minors is the internet, with more than 32% of minors who bought e-cigarettes at retail reported to have acquired the products online.”

The Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act would require online sellers of e-cigarettes to:

  • Require verification that an adult with ID is present to take delivery of the product.
  • Label shipping packages to show they contain tobacco products.
  • Comply with all state and local tobacco tax requirements.

The bipartisan legislation was introduced with the following original cosponsors: Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA), Representatives Lou Correa (D-CA), Sean Duffy (R-WI), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), French Hill (R-AR), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Joe Wilson (R-SC) and Steve Womack (R-AR).

“NACS commends members of Congress who support legislation in the House and Senate to prevent minors from purchasing e-cigarettes online and from intercepting an at-home delivery,” Ready said.

Visit the NACS grassroots portal today and urge your legislators to cosponsor S. 1253 and the House version of the bill.