Connecticut is cracking down on online tobacco sales. Congresswomen Rosa DeLauro and Elizabeth Esty introduced the Stop Tobacco Sales to Youth Act of 2015 earlier this year. The proposed bill would prohibit the sale of e-cigs over the Internet and mail to minors. Under current Federal law, the online sale of traditional cigarettes, rolling tobacco, snuff, and chewing tobacco, or snuff online, over the phone, or by mail requires age verification. However, electronic cigarettes do not require age verification federally.
The Stop Tobacco Sales to Youth Act would:
- Require online age verification for the purchase of e-cigarettes, cigars, hookahs, cigars other and related devices.
- Require age verification at time of delivery.
- Prohibit the shipping of the aforementioned products through the United States Postal Service.
Etsy and other Congressmen believe that bill will help reduce overall tobacco use by minors in the United States. They feel e-cigs should be regulated the same as other tobacco products. Congressmen John Garamendi, Bobby Rush and Charles Rangel are also co-sponsors of the bill.
Currently, 41 states prohibit online e-cig sales to minors, but studies have shown that minors have been able to still get their hands on e-cigs, since e-cig merchants have the choice to install age verification software or not.
Although many health advocates know that persistent teens will find a way to get their hands on e-cigs, they believe that bills like The Stop Tobacco Sales to Youth Act will hold merchants responsible for these sales. It is for this reason that many health advocates, and the sponsors of this new bill, want federal legislation that makes clear and consistent rules for merchants.
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