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Five U.S. senators are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to restrict the sale, distribution and marketing of e-cigarettes and other nicotine products to children and young adults.

“Unlike traditional tobacco products, e-cigarettes can be legally sold to children and are not subject to age verification laws,” the senators wrote. “E-cigarettes marketed to appeal to kids in candy and fruit flavors, like bubblegum and strawberry, are readily available to youth in shopping malls and online. These products risk addicting children to nicotine, which could be a pathway to cigarettes and other tobacco products.”

The letter was signed by Dick Durbin of Illinois, Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Jack Reed of Rhode Island, reports.

The senators called e-cigarettes a possible pathway to traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products. They noted that while the number of adults in the United States who have tried e-cigarettes has doubled since 2010, and limited research has raised consumer safety concerns, the products are not required to be evaluated or approved by the FDA.

E-cigarettes are designed to deliver nicotine in the form of a vapor, which is inhaled by the user. They usually have a rechargeable, battery-operated heating element, a replaceable cartridge with nicotine or other chemicals and a device called an atomizer that converts the contents of the cartridge into a vapor when heated. E-cigarettes often are made to look like regular cigarettes.

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