Pediatricians Urge U. S. to Raise Smoking Age to 21

smoking

And regulate e-cigarettes the same way as other tobacco products, doctors add

The minimum age to purchase tobacco products and e-cigarettes should be raised to 21 across the United States, according to a new policy recommendation released Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The strong statement by the nation’s leading pediatricians group was among more than two dozen recommendations aimed at tightening regulations on cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other tobacco and nicotine products, to reduce youth smoking and nicotine addiction.

The group also called for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate e-cigarettes the same way it regulates other tobacco products.

“Most adolescents don’t use just one nicotine product but will commonly use or experiment with several,” said Dr. Harold Farber, lead author of two of the statements and a pediatric pulmonologist at Texas Children’s Hospital. “Research to date shows that adolescents who experiment with e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes are much more likely to go on to become regular cigarette smokers and less likely to stop cigarette smoking.”

The new policies were presented Monday at the group’s national conference and published online simultaneously in the journal Pediatrics.

Currently, only Hawaii and about 90 cities and communities in several other states have a law requiring a minimum age of 21 to purchase tobacco products, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

“As the brain matures, the ability to make decisions with important health consequences should likewise improve,” said Dr. Danelle Fisher, vice chair of pediatrics at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif. “Thus, slightly older young adults may choose to forgo tobacco products,” suggested Fisher, who was not involved with the new policy recommendations.

 

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SOURCE: WebMD News from HealthDay
Tara Haelle