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June 10, 2015

Doctors' group urges lawmakers to up age for e-cigarette purchase

American Medical Association calls for increase to age 21

The American Medical Association, the nation’s largest doctors’ group, is urging U.S. state lawmakers to prohibit anyone under age 21 from buying e-cigarettes.

While e-cigarettes don’t produce the carcinogens associated with burning tobacco, the water vapor devices still contain nicotine, which is known to be addictiveMoreover, there is presently no government oversight of these products, and the long-term effects are unknown.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey, e-cigarette use among middle and high school students tripled from 2013 to 2014.

For high school students, that jump meant an increase from approximately 660,000 to 2 million students from 2013 to 2014, and for middle school students, the number of e-cigarette users increased from 120,000 to 450,000 students, the survey found.

The AMA adopted its new policy on Tuesday.

In New Jersey, e-cigarettes can’t be sold to anyone under 19, and using the devices is prohibited in indoor public places and workplaces throughout the state.

In 2014, Philadelphia banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and prohibited the use of e-cigarettes in virtually all public places, including bars, restaurants and workplaces, 6ABC reported at the time. However, as of the end of last year, there is no age restriction for their purchase or use in the rest of the state.

Read the full AMA statement here.