British officials have announced that it will ban the sale of electronic cigarettes, called e-cigarettes, to minors under age 18, citing health risks as well as the need for further medical research. In the U.S., e-cigarettes are the subject of similar concern and pressure for the government to regulate the devices. The number of U.S. teens who say they have tried the devices doubled in 2013. More on Britain's announcement from Reuters:
E-cigarettes, which are puffed like a regular cigarette but deliver nicotine by vaporizing liquid rather than burning tobacco, have grown in popularity and some analysts predict the market could outpace conventional cigarettes within a decade.
"We do not yet know the harm that e-cigarettes can cause to adults let alone to children, but we do know they are not risk- free," England's Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies said in a statement.
She added that e-cigarettes can produce toxic chemicals and that variations in the strength of the nicotine solutions between different products meant they could end up being "extremely damaging" to young people's health.
The global market for e-cigarettes was estimated at more than $2 billion last year by market consultant Euromonitor.
Under-18s are already banned from buying conventional cigarettes in Britain. Sunday's announcement included plans to make it illegal for adults to buy regular cigarettes for consumption by under 18s.
Image: Electronic cigarette, via Shutterstock