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Rhode Island: Bill to Severely Restrict Online Sales of E-Cigarettes — SB 622
This bill would:
Ban e-cigarette sales to minors, but would also greatly restrict online sales of nicotine-containing products by treating e-cigarettes the same as traditional tobacco products.
Specifically, the bill would require a retailer conducting an online sale to: (1) Obtain a copy of the buyer’s driver’s license; (2) Obtain a statement from the buyer affirming that they are the person pictured; and (3) Send the package through a service that checks the ID of the buyer at delivery. Retailers would be required to perform this check every time a consumer places an order.
SB 622 would also require e-cigarette retailers in Rhode Island to obtain a tobacco license and only buy their e-cigarettes from licensed wholesalers or distributors.
SB 622 is currently pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee has not scheduled SB 6222 for a hearing, but it may happen soon. If you are in or around Rhode Island and can travel to Providence to attend and speak at a hearing, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Rhode Island Testimony.” Please help out in any way you can.
Please call, write or fax the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee below
What to say:
1. You support supports prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes and other nicotine-containing products to minors, but do not support SB 622 in its current form.
2. Express your concern about Section 11-9-13.11 of the bill, which would restrict the online sales of vapor products.
3. Explain that the restrictions would place Rhode Island e-cigarette vendors at a competitive disadvantage by:
- Instituting a system that will impose significant costs for compliance.
- Imposing restrictions on consumers (i.e., requiring signature confirmed delivery and age/identity proof with every subsequent sale to the same purchaser) that will cause consumers to purchase their products from out-of-state vendors.
4. Note that the legislation would also overly burden consumers by requiring all shipments to repeat customers to be sent via a method that requires an in-person signature upon delivery. This adds cost and is inconvenient for those who are not home to receive the delivery.
5. Tell the legislators that restrictions on online sales were instituted for two reasons: (1) Cigarette companies blatantly marketed to kids; and (2) Online sales were being used to evade taxes. Because there is no evidence that a single child has been sold an e-cigarette online and e-cigarettes are not taxed in Rhode Island, there is no reason to implement such an onerous provision.
6. Explain that online sales bans only serve to protect the market share of cigarette companies.
Senate Judiciary Committee — Who to Contact
Rhode Island citizens are encouraged to contact the members of the Judiciary Committee AND their own senator and express their opposition to the online sales restrictions.
Senator Stephen R. Archambault
Senator William J. Conley, Jr.
Senator Dawson Tucker Hodgson
Senator Paul V. Jabour (Vice Chairperson)
Senator Frank S. Lombardi
Senator Erin P. Lynch (Secretary)
Senator Michael J. McCaffrey (Chairperson)
Senator Harold M. Metts
Senator Donna M. Nesselbush
Senator Leonidas P. Raptakis