Teenagers in North Carolina who try to buy electronic cigarettes online are likely to succeed even though selling the devices to minors is illegal in the state, researchers reported on Monday.
A 2013 North Carolina law required that online e-cigarette sellers verify customers’ ages with a government database at the point of order. But more than 90 percent of vendors do not comply, researchers led by Rebecca Williams of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found.
“It is likely easier for many teens to buy e-cigarettes online than in a corner store, where they might be faced with a request for ID,” Williams said. The situation is likely similar in other states, she added.
While 41 states ban e-cigarette sales to minors, “they tend to focus on face-to-face sales,” imposing fewer or no restrictions for online sales, said Camille Gourdet, a health policy researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago who was not involved in the study.
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