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Could Raising The Vaping Age Increase Teen Smoking?

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A new study from researchers at Cornell University argues that increasing the vaping age leads to a significant increase in smoking amongst teenagers. Researchers found that after a change in new age restrictions for e-cigarettes in 2007 and 2013, there was an 11.7 percent increase in the number of teenagers smoking.

According to reports in The Daily Caller, legislators are calling to raise the age to 21 in some states as health activists believe that e-cigarettes could potentially lead children to become addicted to nicotine and therefore move on to tobacco. But contradictory to this, health experts including the lead author of the study, Dr. Michael F. Pesko, says that “it would be a mistake to regulate them the same way we regulate cigarettes.”

We should regulate tobacco products proportionate to their risks, and e-cigarette evidence suggests they’re less risky products. While there’s some risk, it would be a mistake to regulate them the same way we regulate cigarettes.

The study published in Preventive Medicine, has brought further reaction from health experts. Michelle Minton, Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, backs up Pesko’s comments by saying that restricting e-cigarettes “pushes [young people] in a different and potentially more harmful direction”.

This study provides some evidence for what I and other observers feared about restrictions on electronic cigarettes: when you make them harder to get or more expensive it doesn’t stop kids from smoking, it just pushes them in a different and potentially more harmful direction

In related news, CVS Health has announced that it is funding a new $50 million multi-year anti-smoking campaign after continuing fears that e-cigarettes could cause a rise in smoking rates. The drugstore, who no longer sells tobacco products in its stores, is providing the funds over five years to leading anti-tobacco and youth-oriented programs with an aim to further reduce tobacco use among young people, according to Fortune.

American Academy of Pediatrics, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and educational publisher Scholastic, as well as the American Cancer Society and the National Urban League will all benefit from the funding. The overall goal is to make today’s youth the first tobacco-free generation.

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