Since 2013, North Carolina laws require that online shops must verify the customers’ ages before completing the order. The online sellers must verify the age using a government data base.
However, more than 90% of these online sellers do not comply with these legal requirements, according to researchers.
Rebecca Williams, researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, explained that lately, many minors have tried to purchase e-cigarettes from online shops and succeeded. They do not try to buy the devices from the corner store because they are asked to show their ID.
Williams added that this is not happening only in the state of North Carolina, but in many other US states.
Camille Gourdet, researcher at the University of Illinois in Chicago, explained that although it’s illegal to sell e-cigarettes to minors in 41 states, there are no specific restrictions against selling the devices via the internet.
Gourdet said that North Carolina is one of the states where online shops are selling e-cigarettes to teenagers and could be charged with a class 2 misdemeanor.
For the new study, researchers kept under supervision 11 minors between the ages of 14 and 17. The teenagers tried to purchase e-cigarettes from online shops approximately 98 times. The reports show that the minors succeeded buying the devices 75 times, while 18 failed purchases were due to broken sites or problems while processing the payments.
According to the researchers, only five failures were due to age verification policies, such as date of birth or social security number. This means that 94 of the online shops did not ask for the buyer’s age.
Other websites had age verification policies like check boxes but were not effective. None of the websites required the buyer’s drivers license number before the purchase was made.
The researchers said that as long as there are no strict enforced federal laws, the online shops will continue to sell e-cigarettes to minors.
Image Source: redorbit