eCommerce for Vaping: What You Should Know
For many years, electronic cigarette sales have been lightly regulated at a local municipal level. As of August 8th of this year (2016), electronic cigarettes are now fully classified as a tobacco product by the U.S. Federal Government (under Tobacco Control Act (Pub.L. 111–31, H.R. 1256)). For those wanting to sell electronic cigarettes, e-Juice and accessories online, this change comes with several implications:
- Check photo ID of everyone under age 27 who attempts to purchase e-cigarettes or other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS).
- Only sell e-cigarettes and other ENDS to customers age 18 and older.
- Do NOT sell e-cigarettes or other ENDS in a vending machine unless in an adult-only facility.
- Do NOT give away free samples of e-cigarettes or other ENDS, including any of their components or parts.
Please pay close attention to items #1 and #2. In terms of brick and mortar retail, small changes can be made to comply with this regulatory model.
However, how does this translate into eCommerce?
From direct experience, it is enormously obvious that ‘age verification’ is at the center of this discussion. This goes far beyond the traditional “Fill in your Birthdate” popup… these are federal regulations (with federal implications) that need to be supported within your eCommerce fulfillment process.
These regulations apply to all of the following products:
- A glass or plastic vial container of e-liquid
- Certain batteries
- Cartomizers and clearomizers
- Digital display or lights to adjust settings
- Tank systems
- Drip tips
- Flavorings for ENDS
- Programmable software (device firmware)
Due to the nature of eCommerce, businesses that sell ENDS must require legitimate age verification on every individual checkout. This entails true ID verification (each customer must provide a copy of their photo I.D.), a process that is only supported correctly by a select few eStore modules. If you’re currently selling ENDS online without a true age verification process, you are breaking federal laws.
If you’re concerned about your electronic cigarette eStore or want to know more about how to sell electronic cigarettes online, reach out to Silk Software to speak with an expert.