Vape Chip Aims to Curb Teenage Vaping, but at What Cost?

Vape Chip Wants To Prevent Teenage Vaping, But At What Cost?

Underage vaping has become so rampant that a tracking chip seems like a possible solution. Trace/Verify, a software created by Dave Morris, aims to add an RFID tracking chip on devices like e-liquid bottles and other age-prohibited vape products. The RFID chip would make them visible and traceable by law enforcement in an attempt to prevent underage vaping.

How It Works

Trace/Verify works by installing an RFID chip in an age-restricted vape product. When an adult buys the item, the buyer’s state-issued ID will be scanned and stored in the chip. If an underage person is caught with the item, the authorities can scan the chip to trace the original purchaser or vendor. The person whose information is stored on the chip will take responsibility for giving the item to a minor.

Nipping it in the Bud

The chip aims to eliminate straw purchases, where a person above the age-limit buys several vapes and resells them to underage buyers. Young vapers get their stock from adult buyers or people they know, according to a National Youth Tobacco Survey. The software implementation can address the root cause of underage vapers and curb the rise of addiction to e-cigarettes.

Good Intentions?

Trace/Verify is Morris’ response to a challenge to which the vape industry is ignoring. The software aims to avoid future over-regulation and protect adult vapers from overregulation. Morris sees the industry’s inaction as self-sabotage and wants to stop people from going back to cigarettes or to the black market, which would happen if the government steps in with more restrictions.

Trace/Verify or Follow/Spy?

Morris had privacy concerns when he created the software. However, the chip only collects non-sensitive information like the name and state of the buyer. The information would be useful for the authorities if they want to track down the original buyer.

Will Vape Companies and Customers Sign-On?

The response from the vape industry ranges from lukewarm to positive. As of now, only one company has adopted Morris’ software and used the RFID chip on their products. The response from vapers has been mixed. Some believe it is a good idea, while others feel it is an overreaction to a problem that can be solved by regular ID checks and fines for violators.

While Trace/Verify holds promises, it also raises questions on privacy and how law enforcement and other parties can trace down the buyer and the seller of the product. The initiative is a proactive defender of vaping, but it might not come without costs.

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