According to an article by ABC News, E-cigarette use has grown from a couple thousand users in 2006 to several million worldwide. California has already passed a law that prohibits the sale of E-cigarettes to minors, and any retailer caught selling them to a minor is subject to a license violation which can lead to it being revoked.
How effective are these laws in California and how are they working in Sacramento can’t exactly be said.
A survey conducted by this AccessLocal.Tv correspondent shows that it is easy for a minor to buy E-cigarettes at Sacramento liquor stores. Out of 5 stores I visited, none of them asked for my I.D. when I attempted to purchase an E-cigarette starter kit. Since I am 17-years-old, I am considered a minor in California. But the stores that I visited were ready to sell E-cigarettes to me without asking for any sort of I.D..
All of the stores in my survey were located on Freeport Blvd or on Sutterville Road. The stores do a very good job of advertising the products, as all five of the stores had a sign that shows E-cigarettes with the price in their windows or on signs outside.
When I asked, store clerks said that they are aware of the law and that they can’t sell tobacco to minors. But when I asked to purchase E-cigarettes at the counter they still didn’t ask to see my I.D..
“E-cigarettes are a tobacco product and therefore can not be sold to anyone under 18,” said one store worker.
Cigars and tobacco products are kept on the back wall of these stores, behind the registers where younger kids can’t see or grab them. But at three of out the five stores in my survey, the E-cigarettes were located right next to beef jerky and bubble gum.
A study released by the University of San Francisco shows that minors who use e-cigarettes are more likely to smoke cigarettes and less likely to quit. Health officials say that minors are getting their first taste of nicotine through E-cigarettes then moving on to regular cigarettes.
Tobacco products such as cigars and cigarettes are regulated by the State of California, but E-cigarettes regulations are still being figured out in Sacramento.