Teenage vaping has become a serious issue in recent years, and it has caused many concerns. Companies are now trying to tackle this issue by adding tracking chips to every vape device. The primary aim is to make the devices visible and traceable by law enforcement officials. This is to prevent underage vaping that continues to grow out of control.
The person behind this idea is Dave Morris, the creator of Trace/Verify software. He was a former e-liquid manufacturer who decided to become a proactive defender of vaping. He is on a mission to ensure that vapes do not get into the hands of underage users. His goal is to end youth access to vapes to prevent further legislation that may restrict the choices of adult vapers, such as flavor vape ban.
How It Works
Trace/Verify works by using a Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) chip installed in a device or e-liquid bottle. Once an adult buyer purchases the item, they must present their state-issued ID to be scanned and stored onto the chip. If an underage user is then caught with the item, authorities can scan the chip to find the original purchaser or vendor. The chip is also designed to eliminate straw purchases, where a person of legal age buys a large number of vapes and resells them to underage buyers. Morris cites a National Youth Tobacco Survey that found young vapers get their stock from adult buyers or people they know as an inspiration to create his software.
Nipping it in the Bud
The chip is also designed to address the issue of teenage curiosity and adult influence in underage vaping. The same survey mentioned earlier found that 30.8% of those surveyed were tempted to try a vape because a friend or person they knew used it. The chip is also supposed to target unscrupulous vendors who sell to underage buyers.
Morris’s goals are both self-serving and motivated by his conscience as a member of the vape industry. His intentions are not only to eliminate teenage vaping but to protect the industry and adult vapers from overregulation. According to Morris, the industry’s inaction is self-sabotage. If the industry does not make an effort to address underage vaping, the government will step in and do it for them.
Trace/Verify or Follow/Spy?
The data the chip collects isn’t sensitive; it only gives the buyer’s name and state, which would only be useful to authorities who want to track down the original buyer. Law enforcement could then run that information through a DMV database to find the person’s address or place of employment. Though it raises the question of whether or not law enforcement is going to spend the time and resources to track down a person for a minor infraction.
Will Vape Companies and Customers Sign-On?
The vape industry’s response to Trace/Verify ranges from positive to lukewarm. Only one company has confirmed adoption of Morris’s software, and whether other vape manufacturers will follow suit remains to be seen. The response from vapers has been mixed, with some feeling it to be a good idea and others thinking it’s not. If the system becomes universal, even adult vapers will need to show their ID to buy a vape product, which might not be feasible.
Should vape companies install chips into vapes to prevent underage vaping? Or is it an overreaction to a problem that could adequately deal with by regular ID checks and fines for violators, all of which currently exist? Send us your thoughts about whether Big Brother should be watching what you vape as well.