CHEYENNE, Wyo. – The Wyoming Senate agreed late Monday, Feb. 17 to approve a bill that would require age verification for online nicotine product purchases for a second reading.
SF 42 is one of two bills that was introduced last week regarding the sale of nicotine online. A third bill, SF 50, would increase the state’s smoking age to 21, following the federal law that was enacted in December 2019.
SF 42 would require an age verification for anyone purchasing tobacco products online, using a third-party system to cross-reference the information provided by the consumer with public records, confirming their birth date. The person would have to be at least 21 years old to purchase any tobacco or nicotine products. A seller would be allowed to create protections for purchasers to bypass regular confirmations of their age, such as creating an online profile with verifiable information or allowing the purchaser to upload a copy of their identification and a current photograph.
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The bill also specifies shipping requirements for tobacco products and amends definitions for “electronic cigarettes” and “vapor material.” E-cigarettes would be considered “any device that can be used to deliver aerosolized or vaporized nicotine material to the person using the device and includes any component, part and accessory of the device and and vapor material intended to be aerosolized or vaporized during the use of device.” These would include e-cigars, e-cigarillos, electronic pipes or electronic hookahs. Vapor material would be considered “any liquid solution or other material containing nicotine that is depleted as an electronic cigarette is used.”
Lincoln County Sen. Fred Baldwin spoke about the bill during the evening floor session, explaining that a meeting in Pinedale spurred the creation of this bill.
“We heard from so many high school kids about their source of nicotine products,” he said. “By far, they were getting it online because there’s no age verification or anything to keep them from buying it. We would like to create an age verification system online to prove the people who are buying these products are old enough to do so.”
Baldwin even suggested that the seller establish an age verification system when the product is delivered, possibly by checking the signer’s identification.
Laramie County Sen. Affie Ellis suggested one amendment, separating tobacco products from e-cigarettes, since the two are taxed and regulated differently.
“It just makes sense to keep these separate,” she said.
However, language later in the bill will combine the two, identifying them both as “nicotine products.”
The Senate voted unanimously to ready the bill for a second reading, which will likely take place this week.