Underage vaping has become a significant concern, leading to companies considering adding tracking chips to each vape to make them traceable and visible by law enforcement agencies. The creator of Trace/Verify software, Dave Morris, a former e-liquid manufacturer, seeks to end youth access to vapes and prevent further legislation that may restrict adult vapers’ choice. This article discusses Trace/Verify software, its impact on addressing the prevalence of underage vaping, and its implications on vape companies and their customers.
How It Works
Using Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) chips, Trace/Verify is installed in all vaping-related age-prohibited items. When an adult buyer purchases the item, they must present their state-issued ID to be scanned and stored on said chip. If a minor is caught with the item, authorities can scan the chip and find the original purchaser or vendor. The person whose information is stored on the chip will be held responsible for giving the item to a minor. The chip also targets straw purchases or unscrupulous vendors who sell to underage buyers.
Nipping it in the Bud
Morris aims to eliminate youth vaping by tackling adult influence, which tempts underage vapers to try e-cigarettes. A National Youth Tobacco Survey found that 30.8% of those surveyed were tempted to try vaping because a friend or person they knew used it. While fraudulent ID is a real concern, the Trace/Verify system requires buyers to scan their IDs to purchase age-restricted items, making it more challenging for minors to buy them.
Morris created the Trace/Verify software as a means to protect the industry and adult vapers from overregulation. The end is not to eliminate teen vaping, but a call for the industry at-large to address a serious concern and prevent the government from imposing even more restrictions or banning vaping altogether.
Trace/Verify or Follow/Spy?
The data collected by this system only gives the buyer’s name and state, and is not sensitive. The concern raised is whether law enforcement agencies will spend time and resources to track down a person for what is at most a minor infraction. There are no laws for providing a minor with a vape, but existing laws require parents and guardians to supervise their children’s use of nicotine products.
Will Vape Companies and Customers Sign-On?
The response of the vaping industry ranges from lukewarm to positive, with Trace/Verify used by only one company so far. For users, going through a complicated scanning process may be a deterrent. Some argue that the Trace/Verify system performs the same functions as a simple ID check, which already exists.
Preventing teen vaping is a significant concern, and the Trace/Verify software is an innovative solution to address it. However, introducing more restrictions or surveillance to vaping altogether for young and adult users raises various concerns. Vape companies should continue pursuing efforts to tackle underage vaping while balancing adult vapers’ freedom of choice.
This article is written by Christina Matthews. She’s a former journalist and writer at VapingDaily.com