FDA Catches Vape Shops Selling to Minors

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The FDA just recently announced that they have handed out warnings and fines to tobacco sellers who have sold to minors. Many of these sellers are vape shops.

I scrolled through the list on the FDA website of vendors who were caught selling to minors and a lot of them were tobacco shops, convenience stores, grocery stores, and liquor stores. But out of that list of 55 vendors, I counted 22 vape shops.

One thing to note is that these were all online sales.

There are two things that come to mind when hearing that number; 1) vape shops really need to step it up in regards to their age verification processes, and 2) these regulations are really confusing to vendors. Even when they think they are covered, they might not be covered according to the FDA’s totally unclear policies.

I’ve heard a ton of stories from vendors talking about the FDA sending minors into their shops to buy products, so it’s something all vendors need to be cautious of and really training their employees on. It looks like brick and mortar shops are doing a good job of this right now, but online stores need to be more careful, especially because of the difficulty of verifying age.

The FDA is in full force on this one, so be careful.

I’ve also heard people complaining that that the FDA isn’t taking action against minors purchasing with stolen credit cards, but I think that’s a straw man argument. It’s not relevant to the problem at hand and from what I understand, unauthorized purchases is not something that the FDA is looking at anyway.

It’s also not the FDA’s job to take action against consumers and stolen credit cards. An unauthorized purchase is considered fraud and it’s up to the card owner on whether or not they want to press charges. The FDA is nothing to do with that. This is just a part of credit cards in general, no matter what product or service a kid purchased.

I’m not trying to take the FDA’s side here, but I’m just trying to point out that this is a pointless argument and not worth pursuing.

But, I would be interested in hearing what they FDA would do if a minor did use a parent’s credit card, and was caught by their parent who then reported the vape shop to the FDA. I wonder if that would constitute a violation of law. That’s not something I’ve heard answered yet.

* the image “Warrant” by Ethan Hickerson is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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