Shaheen, Group of Senators Call on eBay, Alibaba & Craigslist to Crack Down on Sales of Illegal Vaping ProductsSeptember 16, 2019
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), sent a letter today with a group of six Senators to eBay, Alibaba and Craigslist, calling on the companies to crack down on listings for e-cigarettes and vaping products on their marketplace that provide youth with a way to purchase these items without any age-verification. In June, The Verge reported that eBay and other online marketplaces have dozens of listings for JUUL devices and pods, as well as other vape products. eBay does not require consumers to verify their ages when they purchase tobacco and nicotine items, and according to The Verge, it is “common knowledge that many of the pods sold online are fake and could contain harmful ingredients, but users continue to purchase them and recommend eBay as a source for underage users.”
Earlier today, Shaheen hosted a discussion with students, administrators and local prevention groups at Nashua High School South to discuss tackling the vaping crisis, and particularly, concerns over how the crisis targets and is impacting middle and high schoolers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 27.5 percent of high school students used e-cigarettes in 2019.
“Opportunities for teens to purchase their products online without valid identification, and often in bulk, has contributed to the exploding rates of e-cigarette addiction. As it stands, eBay, Alibaba, and Craigslist’s marketplaces are allowing tobacco products to be sold by unverified sellers and delivered to unverified buyers. E-cigarettes are no exception,” wrote the Senators. “As youth e-cigarette use has soared, your marketplace has provided a no-questions-asked environment for minors to access products that are addictive, and expose youth to harmful substances. In light of the ongoing vaping-related illness outbreak, which has resulted in numerous hospitalizations and six confirmed deaths, it is especially important that [eBay, Alibaba, and Craigslist] police their site to prevent the sale of any product that could be contributing to this outbreak.”
“[Y]our marketplace has provided a no-questions-asked environment for minors to access products that are addictive, and expose youth to harmful substances. In light of the ongoing vaping-related illness outbreak, which has resulted in numerous hospitalizations and six confirmed deaths, it is especially important that [eBay, Alibaba, and Craigslist] police their site to prevent the sale of any product that could be contributing to this outbreak. Failing to do so not only exposes adolescents to significant harms, but also could impede the work of the CDC and FDA as they seek to locate the cause of vaping-related illnesses,” continued the Senators.
Senator Shaheen has prioritized efforts in the Senate to tackle the youth vaping crisis. She’s leading legislation – the E-Cigarette Youth Protection Act – which would require e-cigarette companies to help fund federal prevention efforts and provide the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the resources needed to enforce a future ban on flavored e-cigarettes. She’s also held multiple meetings with students, education, law enforcement and health officials across the state about the ongoing public health concern.
Last week, the Trump administration answered the call of Senator Shaheen and several of her Senate colleagues in announcing a forthcoming ban on flavored e-cigarettes. This announcement followed a letter that Senators Shaheen and Hassan and colleagues sent earlier in the day, and two previous letters that Senator Shaheen and colleagues sent to the administration over the previous seven months.
The letters sent today to eBay, Alibaba and Craigslist were led by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), ranking member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee responsible for consumer protection, and also signed by U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
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