Studies reveal negative health effects of flavored tobacco bans

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LAKEVILLE, Minnesota – Recent peer-reviewed studies show that banning flavored tobacco products or flavored vaping products has significant negative public health impacts that policymakers must take into account when deciding on the appropriate scope of regulation.

Several studies indicate that banning all flavored tobacco products actually increases the number of young people who smoke cigarettes.

The first study, published in June 2020 in Science Direct-Addictive Behavior Reports, examined the total ban on flavored tobacco in San Francisco, finding that after the ban in effect for nearly a year, consumption of tobacco products. flavored tobacco has been reduced, but smoking among 18- to 24-year-olds has increased by over 35%. The study also found that most flavored tobacco consumers find other sources for these products.

The second study, published in May 2021 in JAMA Pediatrics, also looked at a ban on flavored tobacco in San Francisco and compared youth smoking rates among high school students in San Francisco to smoking rates among high school students in seven other metro school districts located in cities without a ban on flavored tobacco.

This study concluded that San Francisco’s ban on sales of flavored tobacco products was associated with an increase in smoking among underage high school students compared to other school districts. While the policy applied to all tobacco products, its results were likely more important for youth who vaped than for those who smoked due to the higher rates of flavored tobacco use among those who vaped. This raises concerns that reduced access to electronic flavored nicotine delivery systems may motivate youth who would otherwise vape to replace tobacco.

According to the study, the smoking rate among San Francisco high school students under the age of 18 fell from 4.7% in 2017 before the city’s ordinance was passed to 6.2% in 2019.. The year following the enactment of the ordinance, a 32% increase was seen in smoking rates among young minors in the San Francisco school district. At the same time, underage smoking rates in other metropolitan school districts in cities without a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products continued to decline and averaged 2.8% in 2019.

A third study, published in July 2021 in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, found similar implications of the flavored vapor ban on young adult tobacco users.

“[I]While sales of vape products were limited to tobacco flavors, 39.1% of users said they were likely to continue using e-cigarettes, but 33.2% were likely to switch to cigarettes. If sales of vape products were restricted entirely, e-cigarette users were also likely to switch to cigarettes versus not (~ 40%).

The three studies above clearly demonstrate that the unintended but very real consequence of blanket flavor bans is to shift youth and young adults who use vapor-based products, which are generally considered to be less risky on the risk continuum, cigarettes, considered to be more risky.

Likewise, an article published in August 2021 in the American Journal of Public Health by 15 former presidents of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, the world’s leading professional organization dedicated to the subject, advised policymakers considering restrictions on vaping products that “the potential The vital benefits of electronic cigarettes for adult smokers deserve equal attention to the risks for young people.” The paper noted the results of several studies that “policies to restrict e-cigarette use may have unintentionally increased smoking,” including a Minnesota e-cigarette tax that has led to an increase in smoking. smoking in adults.

Each new study clarifies that for public health purposes, policymakers should not rely on a simple, one-sided view that all tobacco products are the same and should be regulated in the same way, or that all tobacco products are the same. flavored tobacco should be disposed of to protect young people.

Thomas A. Briant is the executive director of NATO, an association of tobacco retailers based in Lakeville, Minnesota. Contact him at [email protected]

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