The rules involving electronic cigarettes are complicated and ever changing. Some locales are seeking to ban them along with traditional cigarettes, while other places are left in a confused limbo. But, among the concerns that most people have, the possibility of increased use by children is very high, indeed. Because they are sold over the internet in many cases, they may not be very easily regulated and it comes down to individuals to police their own children to keep them getting their hands on e-cigs.
No Real Rules Means No Real Preventions?
The first e-cigs were only sold online. Once they took off in popularity though, they started being sold in other locations such as the local stores. Disposables, which are less expensive in the short term than the other models, are now sold in gas stations and other similar stores. While some of the clerks might be afraid to sell these to children and young adults, they might be powerless to stop them unless a new policy is written in their city.
Each store can set a policy that says that they will not sell electronic cigarettes to people under the age of 18 (the legal age for tobacco purchases). If they have such a policy, then they must post notices clearly for everyone to see. That means that they will usually have the sign near a register as well as near the display for the electronic cigarettes. If the store has this kind of policy in place, they will likely keep them with the traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products behind the counter.
Buying online is a little trickier. Some sites require age verification before you even get to the product’s home page, but not all of them do this yet. Those sites that require these verifications often have a disclaimer that says “intended for sale to those who are 18 or older” or something similar. If you are not legally allowed to buy tobacco products in your state, you will not be legally allowed to buy electronic cigarettes.
Are the Manufacturers Trying to Lure Children?
The tobacco industry came under fire with some of its advertisements with people who were convinced that it was children who were being directly targeted. Cartoon characters and mascots were used in some ad campaigns, making the claims of the tobacco companies a little suspect. Now people are concerned that the electronic cigarette companies might be luring young children with the different flavors that they offer, including some that sound like candy.
Another factor that is drawing some negative attention comes from one company in particular. Blu sells a pack that has a blue icon that lights up whenever another user is within 50 feet. The company’s website says that it will promote interaction among users and will increase social networking, but most of the younger people who were interviewed for a survey called the idea “lame” at best. Still, some consumer groups cited the astronomical growth numbers for Facebook and other social media sites and worried that children, especially young teens, would adopt the use of these electronic cigarettes because they want to feel like they belong.
Most adult smokers feel that there are enough or, in most cases, more than enough rules already in place in regard to smoking. They are already restricted from where they can smoke and when they can do it. Of course, they do not want to see children smoking, but the harsh reality is that no amount of new rules will do any better at keeping that from happening. After all, the laws say that you must be 18 to buy tobacco products, but you can see kids as young as 14 and 15 smoking in any city in the United States on any given day. Where they get their cigarettes varies, but the end results are always the same- they do get them, and they do smoke.
There are only so many ways that the laws can stop children from smoking whether they are smoking tobacco cigarettes or vaping electronic cigarettes. Adults buy them for kids, clerks look the other way when kids come in to buy them or they steal them from their own parents. Some parents, unconcerned with the laws, allow their children to smoke from an early age and will buy cigarettes for their kids. As long as there are those people, the strictest rules and laws will not matter at all.
Kids can get past the online certification and order electronic cigarettes with their parent’s credit cards. It is up to the parents to keep track of charges on their cards and packages that are showing up on their porches. New laws are unlikely to prevent or slow down children who are smoking or vaping if they really want to continue doing so.