ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Congress late last night passed legislation in the end-of-year omnibus spending packages to stop the online sales of e-cigarettes to minors. The legislation, strongly supported by NACS, closes the online loophole for e-cigarettes that exists by requiring that the age of the recipient be verified in-person at delivery, a requirement that exists for other age-restricted products sold online but not for vapor.
The Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and John Cornyn (R-TX) and in the House by Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Kelly Armstrong (R-ND). The legislation requires online sellers of e-cigarettes to ensure that the delivery carrier verifies the age of the recipient upon delivery. It also requires online sellers to collect and remit the appropriate state and local taxes.
These measures are already in place for cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products purchased over the internet because of a bill that Congress passed in 2010, the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act, which NACS championed. However, e-cigarettes were not prevalent in the marketplace when the law was passed.
“The inclusion of these critical protections against the online sale of e-cigarettes to children will prevent countless illnesses and save lives,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “This bill’s enactment will mark the end of a battle I have fought to close the loophole that allows online e-cigarette vendors to sell to customers without verifying their age at the point of delivery. This is another critical step to ending the youth vaping epidemic, one of the many challenges worsened by the spread of COVID-19.”
President Donald Trump plans to sign the bill into law today.
“NACS commends Congress for passing legislation to reduce youth access to e-cigarettes,” stated Anna Ready Blom, NACS director of government relations. “As responsible retailers of legal products, convenience stores check 4.5 million IDs a day, which is twice as many as TSA. An in-person ID check—whether in store or upon delivery—is the only reliable way to ensure that the purchaser is of legal age.”
Separately, the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey released by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) last week showed that tobacco use among young people is declining.
An estimated 1.73 million fewer youth currently use any tobacco product in 2020 (4.47 million), compared with 2019 (6.20 million), according to the survey.
The results showed 23.6% of high school and 6.7% of middle school students reported currently using any tobacco product in 2020. In addition, current use of any combustible tobacco products, multiple tobacco products, e-cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco decreased among both high and middle school students between 2019 and 2020. The survey did not show significant decreases in the use of cigarettes, hookah, pipe tobacco or heated tobacco products, however.