Williams led study published in Tobacco Control

A study led by UNC Lineberger researcher Rebecca S. Williams, PhD, MHS, principal investigator of the Internet Tobacco Vendors Study, investigated changes in the online e-cigarette industry between 2013 and 2014, prior to federal regulation. Researchers found that there were more than 3,000 internet e-cigarette vendors in 2014, representing a more than three-fold increase compared with the prior year. Published in the journal Tobacco Control, the study also found that use of rigorous age verification among these vendors was rare, with most relying on strategies that cannot verify age - such as using a checkbox indicating that the user is of legal age.

Williams led study published in Tobacco Control click to enlarge Rebecca S. Williams, PhD, MHS, is a member of UNC Lineberger.
Williams led study published in Tobacco Control click to enlarge Kurt Ribisl, PhD, is director of the UNC Lineberger Cancer Prevention and Control Program and professor in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

In addition, the study also found that payment and delivery methods advertised by vendors were similar to the internet cigarette industry prior to federal restrictions banning the use of credit cards, PayPal, and USPS, UPS, and FedEx. These payment and delivery methods are widely advertised by the vendors. Williams said these federal restrictions for internet cigarette sales could be expanded to cover e-cigarettes as well, as has been done in several states including North Carolina and California. 

In addition to Williams, other authors of the study include: Jason Derrick, MSW, of UNC Lineberger; Aliza Kate Liebman of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Kevin LaFleur of UNC Lineberger, and Kurt Ribisl, PhD, director of the UNC Lineberger Cancer Prevention and Control Program and professor in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.