The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed the Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act (S.1253), which aims to prevent the sale of e-cigarettes to minors online by requiring that online sellers ensure the delivery carrier verifies the recipient’s age upon delivery. It would also require 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 thanks to the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act, but e-cigarettes were not yet prevalent in the marketplace when this law was passed in 2010.
The Senate bill, which updates the PACT Act to include e-cigarette and vaping products, was introduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and John Cornyn (R-Texas).
“According to a report last year, more than a quarter of all high school students and one in 10 middle school students had vaped in the previous 30 days, despite the fact that they are underage and should not have legally been able to buy e-cigarettes,” said Senator Feinstein in a statement. “Age verification for purchasing e-cigarettes online remains practically nonexistent, and it’s time we start regulating these products at least as much as we do traditional cigarettes.”
In October 2019, the House passed its version of the bill (H.R. 3942) on suspension. Because the Senate bill is slightly different than the House version, the House will need to pass the Senate’s version before it can become law.