LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KFSM) — Ahead of the state's first Youth Vaping Summit, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge sent a letter to eBay demanding the removal of all electronic nicotine devices and products from its website.
In the letter, Rutledge also urged the company to take steps to enforce its own policy against the sale and advertisement of tobacco products.
The attorney general also issued an enforcement advisory to 100 online e-cigarette retailers, warning that it is illegal to sell or ship any tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and e-liquids, to consumers in Arkansas.
The advisory warns of potential legal action if businesses are caught selling to minors over the internet.
Shipping tobacco products into the state could be considered a violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practice Act and violators could face civil penalties up to $10,000 per violation, according to a press release from Rutledge's office. If products are sold to children, the seller could face additional penalties.
Rutledge continues to educate Arkansans about the dangers of vaping.
"Misinformation and opportunities for youth to illegally buy vaping products online have contributed to the vaping epidemic across the nation and our State. It is my responsibility to educate our youth on the dangers of vaping and hold those accountable who break the law," Rutledge said. "With more children and teens becoming sick and addicted to nicotine, we cannot stand idle and watch a health crisis fester within our State. If you are selling illegal products to Arkansas children, prepare to face consequences."
Rutledge hosted the Youth Vaping Summit Monday (Oct. 7) for parents, medical professionals, educators and legislators at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
Rutledge moderated a panel that included a lawmaker, consumer protection experts and school leaders who also discussed what can be done at the state level to help educate Arkansans on the risks of vaping, enforce the law and find solutions to better serve communities.
By partnering with Arkansas Children’s and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), participants received first-hand information on the health risks and long term dangers e-cigarettes and nicotine can have on children and teens.
"I often hear the misconception that vaping is safer than cigarettes for children and teens. That’s simply not true," Rutledge said. "I am grateful we could hear the scientific facts directly from the medical leaders in our State who see the negative impact nicotine has on our impressionable children and their future."
Arkansans who have questions can email the office at oag@ArkansasAG.gov or call 800-482-8982.