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A row of e-cigarettes in different colors

Health experts disagree about the safety of electronic cigarettes: Some say they are a significant alternative to cigarettes. Other say they aren’t all that healthy, since their main ingredient, nicotine, is derived from tobacco. Critics of e-cigarettes have also pointed out that their nicotine content and various flavors actually make people more likely to smoke, not less.

But now, the FDA is preparing to weigh-in on the matter.

According to The New York Times, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will propose major regulations regarding e-cigarettes.

The new regulations would:

  • Ban the sale of e-cigarettes to Americans under 18
  • Require that people buying them show photo identification to prove their age

The regulatory blueprint would also cover other new tobacco products, as well as pipe tobacco and cigars, which have long slid under the FDA’s regulatory radar, despite increased usage.

FDA officials said the new regulations are the first major step, but that additional rules will have to be established as well.

For example, to restrict the use of flavors, the agency would have to establish a factual record that they pose a health risk for young people.

“You can’t get to the flavors until you have regulatory authority over them,” said Mitchell Zeller, director of the Center for Tobacco Products at the FDA.

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