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Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

Doctors Group Recommends Raising Tobacco and E-Cig Age to 21

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In new policies meant to protect children and adolescents from tobacco and nicotine, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is recommending that the minimum age to buy tobacco products and e-cigarettes be increased to 21.

In three policy statements published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, the AAP offers its guidance on what should happen within public policy, regulation and family counseling for reducing exposure and dependence on tobacco.

"This includes age restrictions, taxes, bans on advertising to youth, and bans on flavored products that are particularly attractive to youth," according to an AAP statement.

The organization recommends that the age at which people can purchase tobacco and e-cigarette products be raised to 21, and it recommends that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulate e-cigarettes as they do other products like conventional cigarettes. The AAP also says liquid nicotine poses serious consequences if in the hands of a child. In 2014, the AAP reports that over 3,000 calls were made concerning liquid nicotine exposure.

In addition, the AAP raises doubts about the effectiveness and safety of e-cigarettes as quitting tools. The agency says parents shouldn't use e-cigarettes around their children, since the organization says the vapor from the e-cigarettes can contain toxic chemicals.

"The developing brains of children and teens are particularly vulnerable to nicotine, which is why the growing popularity of e-cigarettes among adolescents is so alarming and dangerous to their long-term health," Dr. Karen M. Wilson chair of the AAP Section on Tobacco Control said in a statement.

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