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Stupid Tobacco Delivery Law Tries to Stop Minors from Buying Cigarettes on the Internet by Making the Delivery Services (UPS, FedEx) Responsible!

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And you can quote me: "We all know that minors buying cigarettes on the Internet is a problem. This is in large part because a) companies that sell cigarettes on the Internet can't know the age of the person ordering them, and b) many companies that sell cigarettes on the Internet don't care if the person ordering them is a minor. But passing a Tobacco Delivery Law, such as the state of Maine has done, that makes the delivery companies, such as UPS, FedEx, and the like, responsible for delivering the cigarettes to a minor has to be one of the most stupid, dunderheaded things I've heard in a long time."

Posted in Observations, Rants, November 28th, 2007


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We all know that minors buying cigarettes on the Internet is a problem. This is in large part because a) companies that sell cigarettes on the Internet can’t know the age of the person ordering them, and b) many companies that sell cigarettes on the Internet don’t care if the person ordering them is a minor.

But passing a Tobacco Delivery Law, such as the state of Maine has done, that makes the delivery companies, such as UPS, FedEx, and the like, responsible for delivering the cigarettes to a minor has to be one of the most stupid, dunderheaded things I’ve heard in a long time.

The question isn’t really “how can the delivery services confirm age?” Because, sure, if someone looks like they are underage, and the package is from a cigarette company, the delivery service can require an adult’s signature.

After all, as Kathleen Dachille, with the Legal Resource Center for Tobacco Regulation, Litigation & Advocacy explains, “When I am sending something by FedEx there are a whole host of things I can ask them to do. There are different ways I can ship it, different rules about who can accept it, what the signature requirement must be, and who it can be left with. They already offer those sorts of premium services to their customers, so while it may create some level of burden they can certainly charge their customers for that.”

No, the question is “if these laws are upheld, what’s to stop the Internet tobacco companies from simply sending the cigarettes in plain brown wrappers?”

And the answer is “absolutely nothing.”

Obviously, if a law says that the delivery companies must get an adult’s signature for packages they know to contain cigarettes, the Internet cigarette companies will just make sure that it’s not obvious what’s in the box.

What waste of tax-payers’ money – both the passing of the law, and now the lawsuits defennding the law.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

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