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Age Verification and Online Sales of Little Cigars and Cigarillos to Minors

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Objectives: In our cross-sectional study, we aimed to determine age verification and sales of little cigars and cigarillos (LCCs) online to underage teens. Methods: We selected 100 popular Internet Little Cigar and Cigarillo Vendors (ILVs) for order attempts. From August to December 2015, we supervised 14 teens 14-17 years old making order attempts for LCCs. Results: Of the 91 valid orders attempted, we received 89. For the valid orders attempted, 9.9% of ILVs used no age verification strategies at all, 84.6% used less effective forms of age verification, and 50.5% used more effective ones. Only one order was blocked during the order attempt and only one attempt was made to verify age at delivery. Most (79.8%) deliveries were left at the door and only 2 order attempts were rejected because of age verification strategies, resulting in a successful or valid buy rate of 97.8%. Conclusions: Our study demonstrated that ILVs selling LCCs were not making adequate efforts to verify the age of their customers, at the point-of-sale or point-of-delivery, facilitating easy access by minors. Few ILVs utilized age verification strategies that prevented online sales of LCCs to underage teens.
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Keywords: ADOLESCENT/YOUTH; AGE VERIFICATION; CIGAR/CIGARILLO; POINT-OF-DELIVERY; POINT-OF-SALE; TOBACCO REGULATION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2020

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  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 6 times per year.
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