ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Association of Convenience Stores applauded today’s introduction in the U.S. House of of Representatives of legislation that seeks to prevent online sales of e-cigarettes to minors by ensuring that the age of the purchaser is verified at time of delivery, which is currently required for cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products purchased online.
U.S. Reps. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., and Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., introduced the Preventing Online Sale of E-Cigarettes to Children Act, the companion bill to S. 1253, introduced this spring by U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.
NACS Director of Government Relations Anna Ready said the convenience store industry strongly supports the companion bills, which she called commonsense legislation that would close the internet loophole of minors acquiring e-cigarettes.
“Before you receive the product in a convenience store, you have to show an ID,” Ready said. “An adult has to prove that they’re the one purchasing, and the same should be true for when it’s delivered at his doorstep, before receiving the product.”
Ready also cited an August 2018 study published by the “American Journal of Health Promotion” that found the most common retail source for minors buying e-cigarettes is the internet, with more than 32% of minors who bought e-cigarettes through retail sales reported to have acquired the products online.
Last fall, NACS shared policy proposals with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration seeking to help curb youth access to e-cigarettes. One of these proposals was for Congress to update current law under the 2009 Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act (PACT), which requires online sellers of cigarettes to ensure that the age of the purchaser is verified by the delivery carrier. The PACT Act has proven successful but did not include e-cigarettes since the majority of those products were not in existence a decade ago.
“The original PACT Act also received tremendous bipartisan support,” said Ready. “It passed by unanimous consent in the Senate and on suspension of the rules in the House, so in both chambers, just unanimously with bipartisan support. And so, we are hopeful and believe that this could do the same thing, and truthfully, it really ensures that responsible retailing is happening across all channels.”
Amidst the recent flurry of state and local measures involving tobacco products as well as e-cigarettes and vaping, Ready said that this issue is something only national policy could address.
“Since there is a federal law in place that deals with the online sales of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products,” she said, “it’s a no-brainer that they would update that to include e-cigarettes across the board.”
The bills do two main things, said Ready. “It requires online sellers of e-cigarettes to ensure that the delivery carrier checks the ID at time of delivery,” she said. “And then it also ensures that the appropriate taxes are collected and remitted, which is what the 2009 law did for cigarettes.”
The legislation to prevent minors from accessing e-cigarettes online was introduced with the following original cosponsors: U.S. Reps. Doug Collins, R-Georgia, Lou Correa, D-Calif., Sean Duffy, R-Wis., Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., French Hill, R-Ark., Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., Jamie Raskin, D-Md., Joe Wilson, R-S.C., and Steve Womack, R-Ark.
“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.