Paper Calls for More Balanced Rules for Vaping
Four tobacco control specialists have called for a more balanced approach toward vaping regulation.
In a paper titled “A Proposed Policy Agenda for Electronic Cigarettes in the U.S.: Product, Price, Place and Promotion,” the authors observe that many Americans are confused about the relative harms of nicotine use and that public messaging around the substance tends to be more focused on stopping youth use than educating adults, according to Filter.
“Policy regarding e-cigarettes in the U.S. has focused on measures intended to reduce youth vaping, including imposing taxes on e-cigarettes and restricting flavors,” said Kenneth Warner, who wrote the paper with his University of Michigan colleagues Cliff Douglas and Karalyn Kiessling, along with Alex Liber of Georgetown University.
“Unfortunately, some of the measures may be backfiring. For example, if not matched by at least comparable increases in cigarette taxes, e-cigarette taxes that reduce youth vaping may also increase kids’ smoking. As well, some of these youth-oriented taxes appear to be reducing adult smokers’ use of e-cigarettes, increasing their smoking and reducing smoking cessation. We need to find policies that simultaneously address the widely shared dual goals of preventing youth vaping and increasing adult smoking cessation.”
The authors advocate for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reduce nicotine levels in combustibles, adding that it would have the best outcome if “accompanied by regulations ensuring the availability of alternative products, such as e-cigarettes.”
They also advocate for “states and the federal government [levying] large excise taxes on cigarettes and other combustible tobacco products and a more modest excise tax on e-cigarettes.”
The authors insist that only vape and tobacco shops should be allowed to sell nicotine products, that flavors should be banned in combustible tobacco products and that “all e-cigarette flavors other than tobacco and menthol and possibly a relatively small selection of other flavors with clearly adult-oriented marketing” should be banned.