With the rising cost of cigarettes in stores, more than ever, buyers are turning to the internet to buy their smokes. Web vendors are supposed to screen out the minors who want cigarettes, but a new study finds that it has been fairly easy for kids to buy cigarettes online...until now.
A study at the university of North Carolina, Chapel Hill is the first to document internet cigarette sales to minors. Kurt Ribisl, a researcher, says that along with kids being able to buy cigarettes on the internet, they are sold much cheaper than they are on stores, so it undermines the public health impact you get by increased cigarette prices because they are much cheaper and it encourages smoking.
Kara, study volunteer, says that it was easy to buy cigarettes online, all that was required was a credit card and an e-mail address. Kara was part of a study where she and other kids ages 11 to 15 tried to buy cigarettes from 55 internet vendors in 12 states. They were successful more than 90% of the time. In fact, more than 1,600 packs were ordered through the web and delivered to the underage study volunteers. Most came unmarked and were left at the door, or were delivered in person with no ID check.
The researchers conclude it's time for lawmakers to pass legislation that would make the web a smoke free zone for minors. They hope the study will prompt legislation to require tougher age screening on the internet and again at the delivery site.