US health officials move to tighten sales of e-cigarettes

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FILE – In this April 11, 2018, file photo, a high school student uses a vaping device near a school campus in Cambridge, Mass. U.S. health regulators are moving ahead with a plan to keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of teenagers by restricting sales of most flavored products in convenience stores and online. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

WASHINGTON | U.S. health regulators are moving ahead with a plan designed to keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of teenagers by restricting sales of most flavored products in convenience stores and online.

The new guidelines, first proposed in November, are the latest government effort to reverse what health officials call an epidemic of underage vaping.

E-cigarettes typically heat a flavored nicotine solution into an inhalable vapor. Federal law bans their sale to those under 18, but 1 in 5 high school students report using e-cigarettes, according to the latest government figures.

Under proposed guidelines released Wednesday by the Food and Drug Administration, e-cigarette makers would restrict sales of most flavored products to stores that verify the age of customers or include a separate, age-restricted area of the store for vaping products.