University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have found the number of online vendors of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, increased more than threefold between 2013 and 2014. The researchers called this growth worrisome due to findings of low prices, a range of appealing flavors and ineffective age restrictions that could make these products accessible to youth.
The researchers report in the journal Tobacco Control that they identified 3,096 online e-cigarette vendors in 2014, which was up from 980 online vendors in 2013. Based on a content analysis of the 283 most popular sites, they found that vendors made a wide-range of social and health claims, including more than half citing health advantages. These findings build on a study they published earlier this year that identified issues in the age verification, shipping, and delivery methods used by online e-cigarette sellers.