Anti-vaping policy may undermine anti-smoking efforts. Jacob Sullum writes:
In the midst of a federal campaign against underage vaping, a new study finds that downward trends in smoking among teenagers and young adults accelerated as e-cigarette use rose. The findings, based on data from five national surveys, suggest that the official panic about the “epidemic” of e-cigarette use by minors, which has led to restrictions that affect adult access to vaping products and government-sponsored propaganda that exaggerates their hazards, is fatally misguided.
“A long-term decline in smoking prevalence among US youth accelerated after 2013 when vaping became more widespread,” Georgetown public health researcher David T. Levy and his co-authors report in the journal Tobacco Control. “These findings were also observed for US young adults, especially those ages 18–21. We also found that the decline in more established smoking, as measured by daily smoking, smoking half pack a day or having smoked at least 100 cigarettes and currently smoking some days or every day, markedly accelerated when vaping increased.” While “it is premature to conclude that the observed increased rate of decline in smoking is due to vaping diverting youth from smoking,” Levy et al. say, “it is a plausible explanation.”
[Jacob Sullum, “Declines in Adolescent Smoking Accelerated as Vaping Rose, Suggesting the FDA’s Campaign is Fatally Misguided,” Reason, November 21]