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Medical journal says raising legal vaping age causes ‘uptick in cigarette smoking’

Posted by Matt Rowland on

The American vaping industry has long been accused by anti-tobacco lobbyists that their products are a gateway to smoking, especially among teenagers.  However, these claims often lack a basis in scientific fact.  Perhaps as a result of this massive surge in anti-vaping propaganda, the scientific community along with major scholastic institutions like Cornell University are finally joining the debate.  And they are largely siding with vaping.

In the past several years, 47 states have passed some sort of age restrictive legislation on the purchasing of vapor products.  A larger percentage of these states have simply increased the legal smoking age to 18.  However, as California and Hawaii have taken the significant next step to increase their purchasing restrictions to the age of 21, almost thirty additional states now have similar legislation in consideration in their respective state congresses. 

Related Article:  JERRY BROWN SIGNS CALIFORNIA BILL SBX2-5 RAISING SMOKING AGE TO 21

North Carolina, for example, is making a great deal of headlines in this arena currently.  But according to a January 2017 article published in the journal Medical Press, raising the age limits on vaping products only encourages young people to smoke instead.

Medical Community bolstered by Ivy League research

The article entitled, Age limits on e-cigarettes cause uptick in cigarette smoking among pregnant teens, uses a common-sense approach to the argument that the ability for teens to buy tobacco cigarettes has never been a difficult task.  If states make the purchasing of vaping products more age-restrictive, then young people are far more likely to simply get their nicotine fix the old-fashioned way – through combustible cigarettes.

“Every state already has age limits on traditional cigarette sales, and if these limits were perfectly enforced, there would be no possibility for substitution between e-cigarettes and the traditional variety. Therefore, the findings suggest that limits on e-cigarettes are more binding on minors and that teens often substitute one source of nicotine for the other.”

Related Article:  TEEN VAPING? NEW UK E-CIG STUDY SHOWS 66 PERCENT OF VAPERS ARE OVER 40

But the medical journal also references recently published research from such highly-regarded scholastic institutions as Princeton University and Cornell University to bolster their claims.  In the January 2017 vaping study published on both the Princeton University website and in the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), co-author Janet M. Currie makes the following assertion.

“Traditional cigarette use typically declines during pregnancy, but our results show that laws limiting access to e-cigarettes actually slows down this decline, presumably because women are prevented from switching to e-cigarettes.”
“The figures suggest that pregnant women have an especially high demand for smoking cessation products early in their pregnancies. Hopefully, in future, we will be able to offer something that is better for their babies than e-cigarettes.”

Between the years 2010 and 2014, a whopping 40 out of 50 states raised the legal age to purchase vaping products to 18, and the American vaping industry largely supported this philosophy.  However, in light of this rash of recent research and medical opinions suggesting that this sort of legislation is actually harming public health, perhaps it’s time to re-think this puritanical ideology.

Related Article:  AGE RESTRICTIONS ON E-CIGS INCREASES TEEN SMOKING RATES, SAYS PRINCETON UNIVERSITY


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The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not necessarily represent the viewpoints, policy or company position of Vapes.com, the rest of our staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.



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  • As I approach the 70 year old mark I think back regarding how easy it was to obtain cigarettes. ($ .40 per pack ) it was the early 1960 ‘s . The above article is accurate . Being pregnant didn’t change anything ! Some parents even supplied them . Alcohol wasn’t a problem either . Laws were loosly enforced then . Some people were lucky and got away from both before they became addicted .
    Where was vaping when I was a teenager ?! Young or old , the attitude is " it won’t happen to me ". The only true answer is , yes it can . Be smart. Don’t start.

    Ellen C Pierce on

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