Culture 3 min read

E-Cigarette Laws Could Drive Some Users to Smoke Tobacco

Several American states are putting laws in place to regulate e-cigarette buying and usage. However, researchers believe that policies like banning certain flavors will drive e-cig users to switch back to tobacco smoking.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

The new laws that are supposed to limit the availability and appeal of e-cigarettes may have an unintended effect. A recent study revealed that it could drive existing users to smoke more tobacco cigarettes.

Last month, the city officials in San Francisco unanimously voted to suspend the sale and delivery of electronic cigarette until the FDA regulates the product. With this measure, the city intends to control the popularity of vaping among young people, which the U.S Surgeon General described as “epidemic.”

However, a recent study at Duke University suggests that this may not entirely be a good idea.

In a statement, lead author and assistant professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University, Lauren Pacek said:

“Our findings suggest that while some regulations, such as banning certain flavors to limit the appeal to adolescents, might improve outcomes for those young users, the new regulations might have unintended consequences with other portions of the population.”

How Limiting e-Cigarette Could Mean More Tobacco Smoking

E-cigarette statistics
Image Credit: Duke Health

For the study, the researchers conducted an online survey that involved about 240 participants aged 18 to 29.

The respondents had to predict their e-cigarette use in response to hypothetical regulations. These include placing a limit on how users can customize the device, its flavor, or completely removing the nicotine in e-cigarettes.

About 47 percent of the participants said that they wouldn’t use cigs as much if regulations eliminate the nicotine. Instead, they would increase their traditional cigarette smoking to get their fix.

Twenty-two percent also said they would do the same if the regulations placed a limit on the device customizability. These include features such as vapor temperature and nicotine dose.

Then, 17 percent said if e-cigs options become tobacco and menthol flavors, they would smoke tobacco cigarette instead.

Previous researchers already reveal that over 33 percent of people who use e-cigarette also use other tobacco products. For example, some smokers use e-cigs, where tobacco smoking is not allowed.

But, the new regulation could cause a significant shift to the latter.

Pacek noted:

“It’s likely some potential new regulations on e-cigarettes will result in a net good for the whole population. However, our findings suggest that there should also be thoughtful consideration to potential unintended consequences that could affect other subsets of users of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.”

Read More: New Study Explains How Electronic Cigarettes Damage Brain Stem Cells

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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