What Should Be the Minimum Age for Vaping?

Teens vapingSetting a minimum age for vaping is a topic that has been hotly contested for a long time. Many people naturally assume the vaping age limits should be the same as smoking, but with more and more research coming out showing vaping can help teens more effectively make the transition to vaping, it is legislation that requires careful consideration.

A new study suggests that legislators need to take a sober second look at vaping age limits before they lump electronic cigarettes and traditional cigarettes into the same basket when establishing laws. Researchers have found that setting the same legal purchasing age for electronic cigarettes and vaping accessories could result in an increase in teen smoking rates. They explain:

“We should regulate tobacco products proportionate to their risks, and e-cigarette evidence suggests they’re less risky products,” researcher Michael Pesko, a health economist and assistant professor of healthcare policy at Weill Cornell Medicine said in a university release. “While there’s some risk, it would be a mistake to regulate them the same way we regulate cigarettes.”

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After analyzing tobacco use data from 2007 to 2013, researchers found a correlation between state imposed electronic cigarette age purchasing laws to an significant 11.7% increase in teen tobacco use.

“For cigarette use, we separate our results into cigarette use frequency. We found causal evidence that electronic nicotine delivery systems age purchasing restrictions increased adolescent regular cigarette use by 0.8 percentage points. Electronic nicotine delivery systems age purchasing restrictions were not associated with cigar use, smokeless tobacco use, or marijuana use,” researchers wrote in the study. “We document a concerning trend of cigarette smoking among adolescents increasing when electronic nicotine delivery systems become more difficult to purchase.”

They add:

“One practical implication is that recently both New York City and Hawaii changed their legal purchasing age for both cigarettes and e-cigarettes to 21,” Pesko concluded. “Without commenting on the merits of raising the cigarette minimum purchasing age to 21, results from this study suggest it would have been better from a public health standpoint to increase the purchasing age to 21 only for cigarettes, and not e-cigarettes.”

What do you think? Do the age restrictions for ecig purchases make teens more prone to smoking? What do you think the minimum age for vaping should be?

Read more about teens and vaping

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Who’s Selling Ecigs to Teens?

Study Finds Vaping Helps Smokers

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