The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the sales of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products to minors via its new regulation released on May 5.
The rules for all tobacco products enables the agency to manage public health problems such as the availability of tobacco products to minors.
"Today's action marks a new chapter in the FDA's efforts to end preventable tobacco-related disease and death and is a milestone in consumer protection," the FDA writes.
Focus On Minors
The new regulations prevent tobacco use among the youth as this is essential in curbing the epidemic in the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that tobacco use mainly starts during the adolescent stage, with almost nine out of 10 smoking their first cigarette by the age of 18 years old.
Before the new regulations were released, there was no federal law that bans retail owners from selling tobacco products to individuals under 18 years old. The newly released regulations, however, now entails rules for minors.
Among the new rules that address this particular problem include prohibiting over-the-counter and online sales of tobacco products to people aged 18 years old and below, necessitating the presentation of a photo ID to verify age, prohibiting the sales of tobacco products in vending machines, except in adult-only places and disabling free sample distribution.
How Cigarettes Impact Minors
Smoking during childhood or adolescence may lead to an array of medical problems, which may cause serious and life-threatening diseases later in life.
One of the most common conditions young smokers may develop is Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is a myriad of diseases including emphysema, chronic bronchitis and asthma. The combination of the these disease causes impediment in airflow and breathing.
Smoking at a young age also boosts the chances of developing lung cancer. The risk persist to rise as one continues to smoke.
Teenage smokers are also thrice more likely to experience shortness of breath than those who do not smoke. They are also more than twice as likely to produce phlegm than non-smoker teens.
Alcohol and illicit drug use may also be a problem as teen smokers are thrice more likely than nonsmokers to drink alcohol, eight times more to use marijuana and 22 times more at risk of using cocaine.