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Thank you, Stan, for calling attention to this huge exception to the rules intended to prevent easy access to tobacco products by minors -- rules to help protect a new generation from the addiction that has harmed the generations before them.&nbsp; I'm sure many of us haven't paid much attention to 21 CFR 1140.16(c)(2)(i), which very clearly exempts mail-order sales from the requirement of face-to-face sales of cigarette products.&nbsp; Replicating this exception for e-cigarettes and cigars makes no sense: what FDA needs to do is eliminate the exception, not just for newly-deemed tobacco-related products, but for <em;all </em;tobacco products, by not replicating it in the deeming regulations <em;and </em;immediately noticing a modification of its existing rules.
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As you say, times have changed.&nbsp; It may have seemed logical to allow mail-order sales in the late '90s, when there was hardly any e-commerce.&nbsp; Also, the notion that teenagers wouldn't <em;patiently wait </em;for delivery of cigarettes may have made sense then.&nbsp; But today delivery is even <em;faster </em;than the two-day Amazon Prime example you cite.&nbsp; Google Shopping Express and others promise <em;same-day delivery from local stores</em;.&nbsp; They may not be selling cigarettes or e-cigarettes now, but this model will be replicated: I can see "buy cigarettes/e-cigarettes at our online store; orders will be fulfilled locally and delivered (by Addiction Express?) within hours."&nbsp; So the mail-order exception is in my mind, as you refer to it, a huge loophole for teenagers to get cigarettes.&nbsp;
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Surely fine minds can figure out an enforceable verification methodology if there really is a “need” for mail-order cigarette/tobacco products, as has been suggested earlier by FDA, for people in rural areas and people too disabled (including by emphysema?) to purchase cigarettes face-to-face.&nbsp; Methods exist for delivery of certain prescription medications, for example.&nbsp;
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Given enforcement issues, I would like to see a registration requirement for those who engage in the mail-order sale of tobacco products.&nbsp; Shippers would be required to verify that the seller sending out packages is registered before agreeing to accept them for delivery.&nbsp; (And the major shippers would surely comply.)&nbsp; If there is registration, there is something to take away if the rules for age verification are violated.&nbsp; It shouldn’t be made difficult to <em;get </em;registered, but just be a requirement.&nbsp; Since regulating sales via the Internet is well-nigh impossible, one has to look "downstream" to the delivery mechanisms to have control.&nbsp;
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Again, thanks for publicizing this gusher of a loophole in the regulations.
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Marsha N. Cohen
Hon. Raymond L. Sullivan Professor of Law
<em;Founding Executive Director, Lawyers for America</em;
UC Hastings College of the Law
200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
415.565.4676
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