How Bans On Flavored Vapes Could Increase Teen Smoking


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How Bans On Flavored Vapes Could Increase Teen Smoking
How Bans On Flavored Vapes Could Increase Teen Smoking

Many native jurisdictions have adopted legal guidelines banning the sale of flavored vaping merchandise (i.e. vaping merchandise with flavors apart from tobacco). Extra cities, such as Cleveland, are contemplating whether or not to comply with go well with. The federal Meals & Drug Administration has additionally refused to approve advertising and marketing purposes for non-tobacco-flavored vaping merchandise (aka ENDS or “electronic nicotine delivery systems”).

All of those insurance policies are largely justified on the grounds that non-tobacco flavors could enchantment disproportionately to to non-smokers, and to youth particularly. The additional concern is that when folks begin vaping, they could be extra more likely to find yourself smoking. But there was little effort to review whether or not proscribing entry to flavored vaping merchandise produces the specified coverage outcomes, and little consideration by policy-makers about whether or not insurance policies that make vaping much less enticing enhance smoking. This issues as a result of, regardless of the dangers of vaping, the use of vaping products is far less dangerous than smoking.

Prior research has discovered that taxes and age-based restrictions on vaping merchandise have the unintended consequence of accelerating smoking charges. This means that vaping and smoking are financial substitutes, and that any coverage that makes vaping marginally much less enticing than smoking has the potential for rising smoking charges over what they’d in any other case have been. As a consequence, it could be cheap to suspect that vaping flavor bans may cut back the speed at which people who smoke swap to vaping and, even worse, might result in elevated smoking.

A new working paper by well being researchers Abigail S Friedman, Alex C. Liber, Alyssa Crippen, and Michael F. Pesko appears to be like on the results of taste bans on cigarette consumption, and the outcomes are regarding. Right here is there summary:

Over 375 US localities and seven states have adopted everlasting restrictions on gross sales of flavored digital nicotine supply methods (“ENDS”). These insurance policies’ results on flamable cigarette use (“smoking”), a extra deadly behavior, stay unclear. Matching new taste coverage information to retail gross sales information, we discover a tradeoff of 15 extra cigarettes for each 1 much less 0.7 mL ENDS pod offered because of ENDS taste restrictions. Additional, cigarette gross sales enhance even amongst manufacturers disproportionately utilized by underage youth. Thus, any public well being advantages of lowering ENDS use through taste restrictions could also be offset by public well being prices from elevated cigarette gross sales.

And from the physique of the paper:

This analysis has 5 key findings. First, ENDS gross sales fall and cigarette gross sales rise as a larger share of state residents is topic to insurance policies proscribing flavored ENDS gross sales. Results are in the identical path for insurance policies prohibiting all ENDS gross sales (i.e., flavored and unflavored), in step with substitution. Second, ENDS taste insurance policies’ relationships to ENDS and cigarette gross sales are bigger within the long-run; that’s, for insurance policies in impact a yr or longer. Certainly, when permitting differential results over time, the connection between ENDS taste insurance policies and cigarette gross sales are constructive and vital within the long-run however not the short-run. Third, 71% of the rise in cigarette gross sales related to ENDS taste restrictions comes from tobacco-flavored cigarettes. Alongside the inclusion of controls for restrictions on menthol cigarette gross sales, this discovering signifies that the noticed substitution response to ENDS taste insurance policies can’t be attributed to menthol cigarettes’ availability nor absolutely counteracted by menthol cigarette gross sales prohibitions. Fourth, ENDS taste restrictions’ relationship to cigarette gross sales holds throughout cigarette product age profiles, together with for manufacturers disproportionately utilized by underage youth. Lastly, separating ENDS taste prohibitions from much less restrictive insurance policies limiting flavored ENDS gross sales to specific forms of retailers reveals that each insurance policies yield reductions in ENDS gross sales and will increase in cigarette gross sales as soon as in impact for not less than a yr.

These findings are in step with flavored ENDS insurance policies encouraging substitution from ENDS in direction of flamable cigarettes, aligning with outcomes from 16 of 18 different research assessing cigarette use following adoptions of minimal authorized gross sales age legal guidelines for ENDS, ENDS tax charge will increase, and promoting restrictions (Pesko 2023). In different phrases, insurance policies making ENDS costlier, much less accessible, or much less interesting seem to incentivize substitution in direction of cigarettes.

If restrictions on vaping product flavors are going to be promoted as public well being measures, coverage makers may need to have a look at the precise proof to see whether or not these insurance policies truly improve public well being.

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