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Adolescents cannot easily access information about leading cigarette brands owing to the strict age-verification gates major tobacco companies maintain on their websites—a requirement of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement. These gates require viewers to verify they are 21 years or older by supplying their name, address, birthdate, last 4 digits of their Social Security number, and driver license number. We do not yet know whether age-verification gates on entry to leading electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) brand websites are equally stringent. In this article, we address this gap by characterizing these age-verification gates. If gates are weak, adolescents could easily access information about these novel products, watch videos on vaping, and even purchase e-cigarettes.1
Soneji S, Gerling M, Yang J, Sargent J. Online Electronic Cigarette Marketing—Violation of Self-regulated Standards by Tobacco Companies. JAMA Pediatr. 2016;170(5):511-512. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.4501