The FDA has proposed what would be the first regulations of the growing e-cigarette industry, including a ban on sales of the devices to minors. Reuters:
In the short term, the rule would prohibit companies from distributing free e-cigarette samples, forbid vending machine sales except in adult-only venues and prohibit sales to minors. Companies would be required to warn that nicotine is addictive, but no other health warnings would be required...The companies would not be allowed to make health claims in any advertising.
The agency did not propose any limitations on online sales, a seeming loophole for potential buyers under 18. The proposal is now open to a public-comment period; the agency would like to enact the rules within a year.
There is little data on the health effects of e-cigarettes, which create nicotine vapor rather than burning tobacco, but the New York Times reported last week that tests in a National Institutes of Health-funded study found that cells exposed to e-cigarette vapor "exhibited changes associated with cancer" in a laboratory setting.