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Some minors buying e-cigarettes online

A person must be at least 21-years-old to purchase tobacco and vaping products in Columbia.

The city is now requiring stores selling these items to get a license by June 30.

Dr. Gaurav A. Kulkarni, a local child psychiatrist, said some young people have found a loophole. He said youth have turned from brick and mortar stores to instead buy from online retailers.

“It’s a big loop hole,” Kulkarni said. “That’s part of something we need to probably work on with more stricter regulations.”

He said it’s fairly easy to enter a false age online. Many websites require the buyer to check a box to verify they’re over 21-years-old.

Kulkarni said awareness and education is important to stop underage people from buying e-cigarettes.

“It’s critical to have an open dialogue and an open communication to discuss the risk,” he said.

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