The Food and Drug Administration is issuing a proposal on Thursday to ban the sales of electronic cigarettes to minors, a move that market watchers say could dramatically impact the industry's pocketbook.
Currently, e-cigarettes do not carry age restrictions.
The FDA also wants to mandate that the product carry certain warning labels "grounded in our growing body of knowledge and understanding about the use of e-cigarettes and their potential health risks or public health benefits," said Dr. Margaret Hamburg, a commissioner, The Associated Press reported.
Specifically, the FDA proposes health labels that warn smokers that nicotine is addictive, and that e-cigarette makers register the products they use with the FDA — and disclose those ingredients to consumers.
The proposed rules could be a stepping stone to more e-cigarette regulations. Congress has already indicated that concerns are growing over the marketing tactics of e-cigarette salespeople — especially those that suggest the product is safe and that seem to target the younger crowd, AP reported.
"When finalized [the proposal] would result in significant public health benefits, including through reducing sales to youth, helping to correct consumer misperceptions, preventing misleading health claims and preventing new products from entering the market without scientific review by FDA," said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products.
The public has 75 days to comment on the proposed rules.
E-cigarettes don't burn tobacco, but rather a liquid nicotine solution, and they emit vapor, not smoke.
But Mr. Zeller said the science isn't proven on their health side effects.
"Right now, for something like e-cigarettes, there are far more questions than answers," he said, AP reported.
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