AZ Attorney General stings e-cig retailers using undercover youth purchasers, 20 cited for violations
Officials, advocates hope state ban on e-cigarettes curbs rising use among kids
All e-cig retailers (including those selling on Internet) should ensure that they ID all young looking customers, and refuse sales to all minors, and anyone who doesn't have ID.
Although very few youth may actually attempt to buy e-cigs, State AGs and/or health departments in the 25 states where its illegal to sell e-cigs to minors are now very likely to conduct sting operations on e-cig retailers (using undercover youth purchasers) just trying to catch them selling to youth (so they can issue fines to retailers, and issue a press release to the news media claiming lots of e-cig retailers are illegally selling to minors).
While State AGs and/or other law enforcement agencies can only enforce laws in jurisdictions that have already enacted them (i.e. 25 states and a dozen or so municipalities), I also suspect that some state and/or local health departments and/or their funded anti tobacco groups may begin conducting very similar compliance checks on e-cig retailers in the other 25 states that haven't yet banned e-cig sales to minors.
While a sting operation is a law enforcement action, compliance checks don't result in any fines against retailers, but they still result in press releases to the news media listing the names of stores that were caught selling to minors.
Back in the early 1990's, I helped expose the epidemic (>65% sales rate) of illegal cigarette sales to minors by conducting and publicizing compliance checks against cigarette retailers, and by campaigning to enact laws and regulations requiring cigarette sting operations by law enforcement agencies, which has sharply reduced the rate of illegal cigarette sales to youth to about 5%.
While I don't think there is any justification for conducting compliance checks or stings on e-cig vendors (as <1% of teen nonsmokers report past month e-cig use), e-cig opponents will be increasingly conducting compliance checks and sting operations against e-cig vendors just to demonize and harass them.
If/when FDA regulations are imposed on e-cigs, the FDA will routinely conduct sting operations (using undercover youth) on virtually every e-cig retailer in America (and those abroad if selling on the Internet).
First offense for violators will be a $250-$500 fine, with increasing fines for subsequent offenses.
FDA regs also almost certainly will require all e-cigs to be stored behind the counter of all retail stores (except for tobacco specialty stores that have signs on the door saying NO ONE UNDER 18 PERMITTED, which is the best option for all vape shops), and any violations of that (or hundreds of other FDA regs) will also result in $250-$500 fines for first offense.