Our Research

Here’s a list of published research from the ITV study.

Studies on Tobacco and E-cigarettes


Linking the Content to Demographic Reach of Online Advertising of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems. A study, co-authored by ITV team member Dmitri Nikitin but not funded through the ITV study grant, revealing race and ethnicity-specific differences in online advertisements for e-cigarettes.

Before Regulations, Online E-Cigarette Vendors Expanded Rapidly. Study reveals more than 3,000 vendors in 2014; most show lax age-verification practices despite laws prohibiting sale to minors.


Cigarette Sales to Minors via the Internet: How the Story has Changed in the Wake of Federal Regulation. Despite years of regulation, this study demonstrates that minors are still able to buy cigarettes online and have them delivered with no age verification. This includes types of cigarettes that are banned in the United States.

When a Ban Really Is Not a Ban: Internet Loopholes and Djarum Flavoured Cigarettes in the USA. This study found that marketing of flavored cigarettes to U.S. consumers continued for years following a federal ban on their sale.

What is Included with Your Online E-cigarette Order? An Analysis of E-cigarette Shipping, Product and Packaging Features. This analysis examines health claims and other information provided with e-cigarettes purchased online.

Is the E-Liquid Industry Regulating Itself? A Look at E-Liquid Internet Vendors in the United States. This study showed minors were easily able to obtain nicotine-rich liquid for e-cigarettes through online vendors, suggesting self-regulation of the e-cigarette industry is not working.

Revisiting the Rise of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems Using Search Query Surveillance. This analysis of Google Trends search data reveals a dramatic rise in searches related to vaping and purchasing e-cigarettes.


Tobacco products sold by Internet vendors following restrictions on flavors and light descriptors. This analysis of popular Internet tobacco vendors shows high rates of noncompliance with U.S. bans on “light” and flavored cigarettes.

Internet cigarette vendors make tax-free claims and sell cigarettes cheaper than retail outlets. After an Act intended to increase enforcement of tobacco excise taxes, this study revealed many vendors fail to comply and continue to offer cigarettes tax-free and at low prices.

VapeCons: E-cigarette User Conventions. Recent years have seen the emergence of dozens of vaping conventions, events at which attendees try new products, connect with vendors and get free samples.

Electronic Cigarette Sales to Minors via the Internet. Despite age restrictions, this experiment showed minors were successful in buying e-cigarettes online 93% of the time.


Internet Cigarette Vendor Compliance with Credit Card Payment and Shipping Bans. This study documents how loopholes allow online purchases of cigarettes to persist despite bans intended to limit these transactions.


Internet Cigarette Sales and Native American Sovereignty: Political and Public Health Contexts. This study examines the tax-free online sale of tobacco by companies claiming affiliation with Native American tribes.


Effectiveness of State and Federal Government Agreements with Major Credit Card and Shipping Companies to Block Illegal Internet Cigarette Sales. This study documented a 3.5-fold drop in traffic to popular online tobacco vendors following new restrictions on sales practices, although loopholes remain.

Tracking the Rise in Popularity of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (Electronic Cigarettes) Using Search Query Surveillance. This study showed increasing online searches related to e-cigarettes from 2008-2010, reflecting the rising popularity of these products and demonstrating the value of search query data for health and social science research.


A Comprehensive Review of State Laws Governing Internet and Other Delivery Sales of Cigarettes in the United States. As the first systematic review of laws regulating sales of cigarettes through the Internet and mail, this paper provides policy context for future research and offers a framework for ongoing policy surveillance.


Sales and Marketing of Cigarettes on the Internet: Emerging Threats to Tobacco Control and Promising Policy Solutions. This Institute of Medicine report Appendix outlines how online tobacco marketing and sales could undermine progress in tobacco control.


Smokers’ Beliefs and Attitudes about Purchasing Cigarettes on the Internet. In this study, 21 in-depth interviews and a survey of 187 adult smokers revealed price to be a primary motivation for buying cigarettes online.

Internet Cigarette Vendors’ Lack of Compliance with a California State Law Designed to Prevent Tobacco Sales to Minors. In this experiment, researchers found zero out of 101 online cigarette vendors fully complied with all six provisions of a California law designed to prevent tobacco sales to minors.

Stopping Internet-Based Tobacco Sales through Domain Name Seizure. This legal analysis highlights how states could use domain name seizure to shut down online tobacco vendors.


Youth Access to Cigarettes Online: Advertised and Actual Sales Practices of Internet Cigarette Vendors. This dissertation analyzes the websites of online tobacco vendors and assesses their actual sales practices to identify weaknesses in protections designed to limit minors’ access to cigarettes.


Internet Sales of Cigarettes to Minors. Despite age restrictions, this experiment showed minors were successful in buying cigarettes online 92% of the time, resulting in 1650 packs of cigarettes being sent to underage adolescents participating in the study.


Are the Sales Practices of Internet Cigarette Vendors Good Enough to Prevent Sales to Minors? This study found that most online vendors did not take adequate precautions to avoid selling cigarettes to minors, with most relying on self-reports for age verification.


Web Sites Selling Cigarettes: How Many Are There in the USA and What Are Their Sales Practices? This study offers a baseline assessment of the number of Internet cigarette vendors as of 1999, along with an overview of their sales practices.

Are Adolescents Attempting to Buy Cigarettes on the Internet? This study revealed only a small proportion of minors had sought cigarettes online as of 1999, but showed how the Internet could become a more important source of cigarettes for minors.


Related: Studies of Online Alcohol Sales from Our Research Team

Williams RS, Schmidt A. The sales and marketing practices of English-language internet alcohol vendors. Addiction. 2014;109(3):432-439.

Williams RS. Underage internet alcohol sales on eBay. Addiction. 2013;108(7):1346-1348.

Williams RS, Ribisl KM. Internet alcohol sales to minors. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 2012;166(9):808-813.