Should Governments Do More To Discourage People From Smoking And Vaping?


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Should Governments Do More To Discourage People From Smoking And Vaping?
Should Governments Do More To Discourage People From Smoking And Vaping?

The Learning Network|Should Governments Do More to Discourage People From Smoking and Vaping?

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/12/12/learning/should-governments-do-more-to-discourage-people-from-smoking-and-vaping.html

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Student Opinion

France has unveiled new restrictions that it hopes will produce the first “no-tobacco generation.” Should more places embrace such initiatives?

The French government plans to ban smoking on all beaches, in public parks, forests and some other public areas.Credit…Bob Edme/Associated Press

Is vaping a problem in your school or community? What about cigarettes?

What rules or laws are you aware of that are meant to reduce the use of tobacco products where you live? For example, are there age minimums for purchasing such products, or punishment for students if they are caught vaping or smoking on school grounds?

Do you think more should be done to address smoking and vaping? Or are the measures in place enough?

In “France to Ban Smoking in Forests, on Beaches and Near Schools,” Aurelien Breeden writes about the country’s new anti-smoking plan:

France will ban smoking on beaches, near public buildings like schools and in public parks and forests next year, the French government said on Tuesday, as it unveiled plans to curb the habit by making it slightly more expensive and far less attractive, especially to younger people.

“We have won battles,” Aurélien Rousseau, France’s health minister, said at a news conference in Paris. Noting that the smoking rate for 17-year-olds had already dropped to 16 percent in 2022 — down from 25 percent in 2017 — he added that “tobacco remains a major public health scourge.”

The government’s plan is part of an ambitious effort to produce the first “no-tobacco generation” by 2032.

While anti-smoking campaigners welcomed some of the measures announced by Mr. Rousseau, they said that lofty objective would be hard to achieve if the government did not act even more forcefully to push up the price of cigarettes.

Smoking rates in France have remained roughly unchanged since 2019 after decades of regularly declining, according to French public health authorities.

Nearly a quarter of French adults, or about 12 million people, still smoke daily, compared with just 11.5 percent of U.S. adults who smoke regularly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And smoking is still the leading cause of avoidable mortality in France, causing about 75,000 deaths per year.

In the United States, a recent survey has found that flavor bans may have contributed to a decline in the number of high school students who have reported using e-cigarettes, which fell to 10 percent this spring from 14 percent last year:

One thing is clear about underage e-cigarette use: Adolescents like flavors. About 90 percent of the students who reported vaping said they used flavored products, citing favorites that tasted like fruit and candy.

Teenagers identified Elf Bar and Esco Bar as their favorite brands, well-known for flavors like strawberry kiwi and watermelon ice.

Public health advocates in California recognized the allure, leading to a yearslong fight to pass a ban on flavored tobacco products, which took effect in December. It quickly led to falling sales, according to data from the C.D.C. Foundation. From December 2022 to June of this year, flavored e-cigarette sales fell by nearly 70 percent, to 179,000 from about 575,000 vapes or refills.

The ban no doubt made it harder for young people to buy vapes in California, where you must be 21 to buy tobacco products.

Public health experts also linked other state and local flavor bans and education campaigns to the falling high school vaping rate, which is the lowest in nearly a decade. And a few years ago, under public pressure, Juul, which had once been the most popular brand, withdrew most of its flavors from the market.

Students, read both articles and then tell us:

  • What do you think about the efforts being made in France to ensure a no-tobacco generation by 2032? What about efforts in the United States to reduce teenage vaping? Do you believe bans will work to lessen tobacco use, particularly among young people?

  • Are smoking and vaping among teenagers prevalent activities where you live? Do your observations track with the recent report that shows less e-cigarette use among high school students but a slight increase among middle school students?

  • To what extent do you think the government should have a role in trying to reduce smoking and vaping? Do you think your government should be doing more to discourage people from picking up the habits? Why or why not?

  • The articles report on several ways that the United States and France are trying to deter young people from using tobacco products. From your perspective as a teenager, which do you think are most effective? Do you have any other ideas?

  • Do you think you will see a no-tobacco generation in your lifetime? Why or why not?


Students 13 and older in the United States and Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public and may appear in print.

Find more Student Opinion questions here. Teachers, check out this guide to learn how you can incorporate these prompts into your classroom.

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