First, we’ll get this out of the way: we do not condone or support e-cig or vape use among minors under any circumstances. We do feel that the results of a recent study conducted by Yale University on underage tobacco use are further proof that vaping does not lead to traditional smoking among teens. In fact, it’s almost the opposite. The study determined that in places where e-cig use is banned among minors, those kids are actually much more likely to smoke combustible cigs.
What this means for vaping is that anti-vapers now have no ground for the claim that vaping leads to traditional smoking. I mean, that’s obvious to the rest of us – ever notice how we write about the dangers of smoking just as much as we write about the joys of vaping on this very blog?
The paper was published in October in the Journal of Health Economics and was written by Abigail Friedman, who is an Assistant Professor of Public Health at Yale University. Friedman’s research found that in states where the sale of e-cigs to minors was banned, there was a 0.9 per cent increase in underage smoking. Currently, 40 states have such bans in place.
“Conventional cigarette use has been falling somewhat steadily among this age group since the start of the 21st century. This paper shows that bans on e-cigarette sales to minors appear to have slowed this decline by about 70 per cent in the states that implemented them…In other words, as a result of these bans more teenagers are using conventional cigarettes than otherwise would have done so,” Friedman’s study says.
Friedman offers the suggestion that perhaps U.S. states could allow those 16 and over to buy e-cigs and vape products, as opposed to the 18 or even 21, which is the legal smoking age in most US localities.
“Assuming that e-cigarettes are indeed less risky to one’s health than traditional cigarettes, as suggested by existing evidence on the subject, this result calls such bans into question,” the study concludes.
Did you hear that? It’s the sound of all of us slow clapping for Ms. Friedman and her common sense analysis.
Again, we do not condone the use of vape products among minors, and we’ll leave this particular issue up to the lawmakers, but we think that this study provides clear evidence that vaping has no “gateway effect” among teen users, or users of any age for that matter.