Hey Kid, Put Out That Smoke!

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: "From now on, in every store in America, our children will be told: No ID, no sale," President Clinton said in announcing new Food and Drug Administration regulations aimed at raising the age when teens take their first puff. FDA studies say 82 percent of adults who have smoked started before the age of 18; three-quarters of minors buying cigarettes report they are never carded. To reduce those numbers, the new regulations state that retailers must check the ID of anyone under 27. Anyone caught selling cigarettes or chewing tobacco to someone under 18 will be fined at least $250. To ensure compliance, the FDA has unleashed a horde of old-looking children in undercover sting operations in stores across the country. Starting August 28, the agency will also introduce a ban on vending machines in spots where underage teens are allowed, will block outdoor cigarette ads within 1,000 feet of a school or public playground and forbid the sale of "loosies" or single cigarettes. Charging that the FDA does not have the authority to regulate the industry, tobacco companies are challenging the rules in a North Carolina court