By Jerry Newberry
Age restrictions on vaping may be increasing their use.
New research from Weill Cornell Medical College says that raising the age for vaping and restricting access for purchasing electronic nicotine devices is not working out as the authors of the measures had intended, and in fact, has increased rate of teen smoking.
According to an article on Tech Times, e-cigarette smoking among teens is more popular now that ever, citing a 2014 study by the University of Michigan that found 13.4 percent of teens favored e-cigarettes, versus 9.2 percent choosing conventional cigarettes.
Experts suspect e-cigarette popularity could be attributed to the belief that vaping is less harmful than traditional cigarette smoking, despite evidence showing there is some risk involved, and some studies suggest those who start out with e-cigarettes eventually wind up smoking conventional tobacco products. So far, 47 states have already set age restrictions on the purchase electronic nicotine devices.
The researchers analyzed data about adolescent use of marijuana and tobacco contained in the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, for the period of 2007 through 2013, in particular, the impact of age restrictions resulting in teenagers choosing other smoking options. The findings show an increase of 11.7 percent after the imposition of the restrictions on vaping.
Study author Dr. Michael Pesko said, “We should regulate tobacco products proportionate to their risks, and e-cigarette evidence suggests they’re less risky products. While there’s some risk, it would be a mistake to regulate them the same way we regulate cigarettes.”
The data may be suggesting that e-cigarettes are an alternative to conventional tobacco smoking, and may actually enable teens who now smoke tobacco products to stop their use. Research shows that teens residing in states without vaping age restrictions are more likely to quit tobacco products that those living in states with restrictions.
The study authors indicated their findings suggest a ban on traditional cigarettes only may be more beneficial that banning or restricting both methods of smoking.
The journal Preventative Medicine published the results of the team’s findings on Thursday, March 10.