Health Regulators Advancing Plan to Keep E-Cigs Out of Hands of Teenagers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. health regulators are moving ahead with a plan designed to keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of teenagers by restricting sales of most flavored products in convenience stores, gas stations, pharmacies and other retail locations.

The new guidelines, first proposed by the Food and Drug Administration in November, are the latest government effort to reverse what health officials call an epidemic of underage vaping.

E-cigarettes typically heat a flavored nicotine solution into an inhalable vapor. Federal law bans their sale to those under 18, but 1 in 5 high school students report using e-cigarettes, according to the latest survey published last year.

Under proposed FDA guidelines released Wednesday, e-cigarette makers would need to restrict sales of most flavored products to stores that verify the age of customers upon entry or include a separate, age-restricted area for vaping products. Companies would also be expected to use third-party, identity-verification technology for online sales.

The FDA will also prioritize removing vaping products that clearly appeal to kids, such as those with packaging that resembles juice boxes, candy or cookies. Companies that don’t follow the new requirements risk having their products pulled from the market, the FDA said.