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Yale Researchers Find Connecticut May Have To Rethink E-Cigarette Policies

by | Nov 4, 2015 1:00pm () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Business, Child Welfare, Health Care, Public Health, State Capitol

shutterstock States that have made it illegal for minors to buy electronic cigarettes, like Connecticut, have seen an uptick in the number of adolescents smoking conventional cigarettes, according to Yale researchers.

The researchers, from Yale School of Public Health, analyzed data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and found that state bans on e-cigarettes to minors resulted in a 0.9 percentage point increase in the rate of conventional cigarette use among young people ages 12 to 17.

E-cigarettes don’t burn tobacco or produce smoke, instead delivering nicotine by producing a vapor.

The use of e-cigarettes is commonly referred to as “vaping,” and some e-cigarette manufacturers have been criticized for making flavors that appeal to young consumers, such as bubble gum. E-cigarettes also tend to cost less than conventional cigarettes.

“Conventional cigarette use has been falling somewhat steadily among this (12-17) age group since the start of the 21st Century,” Abigail Friedman, assistant professor of public health and the study’s author, said in a statement.

“This paper shows that bans on e-cigarettes sales to minors appear to have slowed this decline by about 70 percent in the states that implemented them,” she said. “As a result of these bans, more teenagers are using conventional cigarettes than otherwise would have done so.”

The study, which was published this week in the Journal of Health Economics. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, from which researchers drew data, is conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a federal agency.

More than 40 states have banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors under 18, including Connecticut where such a ban took effect in October 2014.

Additionally, earlier this year, state lawmakers moved to prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in all places where tobacco cigarettes are banned. That means vaping is banned in buildings owned, operated or leased by the state; all health care institutions; restaurants and bars; schools; elevators; public and private college dorms; dog race tracks, and places that simulcast off-track betting race programs or jai alai games.

Regulation of e-cigarette use has drawn vocal supporters and critics in Connecticut. During public hearings earlier this year, vaping proponents testified before lawmakers that e-cigarettes were the only things that helped them kick long-standing tobacco cigarette habits. Opponents of vaping worried about e-cigarettes’ potential health risks and their appeal to younger smokers.

The use of e-cigarettes among middle and high school students tripled between 2013 and 2014, according to Yale researchers citing U.S. Centers for Disease Control data. Therefore, Friedman suggests that banning e-cigarette sales may be more effective in reducing teen smoking in states if the ban was for those under 16 rather than those under 18.

Habitual use of conventional cigarettes typically spikes at age 16, she said.

“Policymakers have been assuming that banning e-cigarette sales to minors will improve public health,” she said. “This paper’s finding, that these bans increase conventional cigarette smoking among teens, suggests that we may need to rethink this conclusion.”

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(5) Archived Comments

posted by: 06416 | November 4, 2015  2:35pm

Vaping saved my life.  It is the only current way to both address the psychological habitual side of smoking while also allowing the user to wean down their nicotine intake to 0.  There have been many scholarly independent studies in the US and abroad conducted which show that the nicotine absorption rate is much slower than if inhaled through burning tobacco.  This means that there is little to no cardiovascular component, i.e. no vasoconstriction, no tachycardia, no hypertension.  These devices help to achieve the AHA’s ultimate goal, to get people to stop smoking.  The propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine used to create the liquid for these devices is generally regarded as safe for human consumption by the USP and FDA.  Sales for any nicotine product should be banned from minors of course, but the general lack of knowledge by both the public and lawmakers about these devices, along with the negative news stories filled with misinformation, is disconcerting.  The only thing that makes sense is that federal and state governments want you to smoke tobacco, it’s guaranteed tax money for their bloated budgets.  Think for yourself, question authority.

posted by: Noteworthy | November 4, 2015  5:14pm

This is what happens when a rush to judgment, a lack of common sense and nitwits in public office jump to conclusions and actions without science, data or solid information upon which to act. They’re all too busy posing - feigning concern and wringing their hands to justify their existence.

posted by: jpriestly | November 5, 2015  8:38am

Vaping is enabling a drug-delivery device, and will lead children to increased drug dependence.  The issue isn’t whether cigarette-addicted adults should use e-cigarettes - they can make informed choices.  But before 18 is when kids pick up the habit, and vaping appears cool and is an effective source of drugs.  Even without smoking cigarettes, the kids will become just as addicted. Friedman’s article found states with teen e-cig sale bans had up to only 1% more teen cigarette smokers, but meanwhile other studies have shown that 13% of all teenagers (including the effect of bans) have used e-cigs in the last month.  A large fraction of teen e-cig users have used them for other drugs.  Be very careful - drug dependence is a life-long life-impairing burden that can be much reduced if the teen years can be kept clean.

posted by: Clean Agent | November 6, 2015  6:02am

Did I read this correctly? States that do not allow sales of e-cigs to minors have a 0.9% higher teen smoking rate? Nine TENTHS of a percent?

posted by: 06416 | November 7, 2015  10:42am

@jprestly nicotine is as addictive as caffeine, and quite frankly calling a vape mod a drug delivery device puts a cup of coffee in the same category.  The whole idea behind these things are to get people off smoking burning tobacco.  Everyone understands that physical and psychological dependence are very dangerous and controlling elements, but they can be overcome.  The plain fact is that kids will get their hands on whatever they want to if they so desire.  Making useless laws which are ineffective and solve nothing will not help.  For example texting while driving is illegal.  As a paramedic I respond to many a traffic incident involving use of cellular devices behind the wheel, sometimes fatal.  It’s against the law to use these devices while driving, however if the law isn’t enforced, then there really isn’t much change.  In regards to vaping and its regulation, perhaps, like most things, regulation needs to begin at home with parents, instead of through the government.  As a parent, I take full responsibility for the choices my child will make, as it is my duty to help to steer him in a safe direction.

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