Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum on Wednesday applauded Oregon lawmakers for passing legislation that will close a loophole allowing underage Oregonians to purchase vaping products over the internet. Under House Bill 2261, all nicotine vaping devices and components will no longer be able to be sold online.
The bill had previously passed out of the Oregon House with near-unanimous approval, and Wednesday passed out of the Oregon Senate. It now moves to Gov. Kate Brown for her signature.
“There is no effective way to verify an age or stop minors from purchasing these products over the internet,” Rosenblum said in a press statement. “In Oregon, you cannot buy cigarettes online, and there is no good reason to be able to buy vape products online either.”
Rosenblum said that, even as underage cigarette use is declining, e-cigarette use among teenagers is increasing and threatening years of public health progress.
“If we want to make real progress in lowering rates of teenage vaping, we need to close this online sales loophole,” Rosenblum said.
E-cigarette use is a significant – and avoidable – health risk to young Oregonians. Rosenblum stated that in 2019 a quarter of high school students and one in 10 middle schools students in the United States reported that they had vaped with an electronic cigarette in the past 30 days.
Among other ingredients, the vapor in the products can include heavy metals and other cancer-causing chemicals. Health officials have also said nicotine is especially toxic for adolescents with developing brains.
Last year, Rosenblum announced that Oregon was leading a 39-state investigation involving marketing and sales tactics of Juul Labs, which sells nicotine pods for vaping devices. The multi-state investigation is ongoing and claims that vaping companies specifically target children with their marketing.
“It has become increasingly clear that way too many Oregon kids are getting hooked on e-cigarettes and other devices like vape pens,” Rosenblum said. “By eliminating the sale of these products online, we are making one major step forward.”