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Nicotine Tob Res. 2008 Feb;10(2):253-65. doi: 10.1080/14622200701838232.

A comprehensive review of state laws governing Internet and other delivery sales of cigarettes in the United States.

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  • 1University of Illinois at Chicago, Institute for Health Research and Policy, Chicago, IL 60608, USA.


All U.S. states regulate face-to-face tobacco sales at retail outlets. However, the recent growth of delivery sales of tobacco products by Internet and mail-order vendors has prompted new state regulations focused on preventing youth access and tax evasion. To date, there are no comprehensive and systematic analyses of these laws. The objectives of this study were to: (a) document the historical enactment of the laws; (b) assess the nature and extent of the laws; and (c) examine the relationship between the presence of laws and state tobacco control policy and other contextual variables. Between 1992 and 2006, 34 states (67%) enacted a relevant law, with 27 states' laws (45%) effective between 2003 and 2006. Five states banned direct-to-consumer shipment of cigarettes. The remaining 29 states' laws included a combination of requirements addressing minimum age/ID, payment issues, shipping, vendor licensure and related issues, tax collection/remittance, and penalties/enforcement. States with delivery sales laws have stronger youth tobacco access policies and state tobacco control environments, as well as higher state cigarette excise tax rates and revenue, past-month cigarette use rates, and perceptions of risk of use by adolescents. This paper provides the policy context for understanding Internet and other cigarette delivery sales laws in the U.S. It also provides a systematic framework for ongoing policy surveillance and will contribute to future analyses of the impact of these laws on successfully reducing youth access to cigarettes and preventing tax evasion.

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