State Government Relations Manager from the The Heartland Institute Lindsey Stroud, looks at US initiatives to increase tobacco age limits from 18 to 21, and explains how including e-cigarettes in such policies is counterproductive.
Alcohol and marijuana are both illegal for minors in every state, yet this has not stopped these youngsters from obtaining and consuming the substances. “Why would lawmakers expect different results when it comes to tobacco cigarettes?”
A number of states and localities have raised the legal age to purchase tobacco products and electronic cigarettes from 18 to 21, while many others are considering such a legislation. Proponents of this motion say that such legislations will diminish smoking rates among young people, “but there is little evidence to conclude that such regulations will deter youth consumption,” said Lindsey Stroud in an article on The Heartland Institute website.
Stroud continued by pointing out that the illegality of other substances does not stop young adults from consuming them. “The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported in its Monitoring the Future Study: Trends in Prevalence of Various Drugs 58% of 12th graders reported consuming alcohol in 2015.” She added that this study found that alcohol has remained “the substance most widely used by today’s teenagers,” whilst the study authors also pointed out that 35% of the study participants reported using marijuana.
Stroud pointed out that alcohol and marijuana are both illegal for minors in every state, yet this has not stopped these youngsters from obtaining and consuming the substances. “Why would lawmakers expect different results when it comes to tobacco cigarettes?” she added.
Youngsters are likely to purchase products on the back market
In line with what several other public health experts have pointed out, in Stroud’s opinion, prohibiting persons under 21 from purchasing tobacco and ENDSproducts will only lead to the “the creation or expansion of a black-market”.
The black market, as anticipated by a 2016 study, could feed a criminal network and force vapers to purchase products that are unregulated and possibly unsafe. This would also make it difficult for authorities to evaluate the dynamics of the vaping market since a substantial part would be occurring unofficially and beyond any governmental control.
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