E-cigarette: US to ban sales to minors

WASHINGTON (TIP): The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed rules on Thursday that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18, but would not restrict flavoured products, online sales or advertising, which public health advocates say attract children.

The long-awaited proposal would subject the $2 billion e-cigarette industry to federal regulation for the first time. FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg said at a briefing that the proposal represented the first “foundational” step towards broader restrictions if scientific evidence shows they are needed to protect public health.

Critics of e-cigarette advertising say it risks introducing a new generation of young people to conventional cigarettes when little is known about the long-term health impact of the products.

“It’s very disappointing because they don’t do anything to rein in the wild-west marketing that is targeting kids,” Stanton Glantz, a professor at the Centre of Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, said. “They should not have been so timid.”

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