The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announced its recommendation to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to age 21 nationwide. This was part of a comprehensive set of policies issued at the National Conference & Exhibition. The AAP recommendations are published in Pediatrics

Karen M. Wilson, MD, MPh, FAAP, chair of the AAP Section on Tobacco Control and section head of Pediatric Hospital Medicine at Children’s Hospital Colorado, explained that tobacco use remains a major health threat to children, adolescents, and adults. The growing use of e-cigarettes among adolescents is “so alarming and dangerous to their long-term health,” she added. 

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The 3-policy statement outlines recommendations for public policy changes, clinical guidance for physicians to counsel families on reducing exposure and dependence on tobacco, and recommendations for the regulation of e-cigarettes. A review of the supporting scientific evidence is contained in a companion technical report. 

Specifically, the AAP is urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery products in the same manner as other tobacco products, including age restrictions, taxes, bans on advertising to youth, and bans on flavored products that are attractive to youth. The AAP also highlighted the need for child-resistant packaging to protect young children from exposure to liquid nicotine as it is extremely toxic. addition, the AAP is recommending that current smoke-free laws that already govern secondhand smoke be expanded to incorporate e-cigarettes. According to the AAP, parents should not use e-cigarettes around their children. Smoking and other tobacco products that release toxic emissions should be prohibited in all workplaces, such as bars, restaurants and healthcare facilities; they should be banned where children live, learn, and play. 

The AAP also recommends that pediatricians first screen and counsel all patients, parents, and caregivers for e-cigarette use. In addition, they should counsel parents and caregivers who smoke about quitting and advise children and adolescents on the harms of tobacco use before they experiment. 

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