A year after Gov. Bobby Jindal signed a law prohibiting sale of electronic cigarettes to people under 18, the American Medical Association is advocating raising the legal purchasing age to 21.
The AMA on Tuesday adopted a new policy calling for greater regulatory oversight of e-cigarettes, including setting the minimum age at 21, requiring nicotine to be packaged in child-resistant containers and urging strict enforcement of laws that would prohibit sale of tobacco products to minors.
Until now, the AMA’s policy was to prohibit sales to individuals under 18.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year found in a survey that e-cigarette use among high school and middle school students tripled between 2013 an 2014. More than 2 million high schoolers and 450,000 middle schoolers were smoking the battery-powered vaporizers.
“The AMA’s newest policy expands on the AMA’s longtime efforts to help keep all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, out of the hands of young people, by urging laws to deter the sale of electronic cigarettes to anyone under the age of 21,” said Dr. Robert M. Wah, AMA president. “We also urge the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to act now to implement its proposed rule to effectively regulate electronic cigarettes.”
The AMA is also standing behind policies adopted in 2013 and 2014 that call for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate e-cigarettes in the same manner it does all tobacco and nicotine products, including tighter marketing restrictions on manufacturers, and prohibiting claims that electronic cigarettes are effective tobacco cessation tools.
A recent study by the Institute of Medicine concluded that the number of teens who smoke would drop by 12 percent if the age is raised to 21.