Electronic Cigarettes reduce smoking in adults | Economics21

As they have become more widely available, the use of electronic cigarettes has increased significantly, although it is notable that the current usage rate decreased from 2015 to 2016 for adults and high school students. The proliferation of electronic cigarettes has fueled concerns about potential health risks and the use of adolescents. While these concerns must be thoroughly investigated and studied, concentrating exclusively on possible negative aspects may preclude considering the potential harm reduction benefits for the approximately 38 million current smokers in the country.

It has been difficult to determine the effects of e-cigarettes on adult smoking due to the number of factors at play and current trends before electronic cigarettes come on the scene. However, a recent working paper concludes that electronic cigarettes "create a path to cessation". Authorities should incorporate these new findings when considering new regulations, and should avoid regulations that would close this path and make it difficult for people to give up conventional smoking.

Previous studies had badyzed the survey data and found an badociation between electronic cigarettes and smoking reduction. Some other randomized controlled trials found some evidence that the use of the electronic cigarette increased the likelihood of successful cessation, but depended on small samples. The new working paper, by Henry Saffer and Michael Grossman of NBER, Daniel Dench of City University of New York, and Dhaval Dave of Bentley University, seeks to broaden our understanding of the interaction between electronic cigarettes and smoking.

One One of the main limitations of studies based on data from surveys is that the badysis can not determine the causality: while the use of electronic cigarettes may be badociated with the reduction of smoking, it does not necessarily mean that it is the cause. The authors attempt to correct this by using the determinants of the demand for electronic cigarettes, such as cigarette and e-cigarette prices at the county and monthly levels of the Nielsen Retail Scanner data.

The authors find that electronic cigarettes increase the likelihood of an abandonment attempt, the probability of abandonment success, the probability of abandonment failure and the number of abandonment failures. Even for those who quit smoking and those who did not try to quit smoking, the use of electronic cigarettes reduced tobacco consumption.

Policies that make it more expensive or more difficult for adults to access electronic cigarettes could mitigate these potential benefits for current conventional cigarette smokers.

The authors estimate that a 10 percent federal excise tax would reduce the number of people who stop smoking in the country by more than 250,000 per year.

It is quite reasonable that federal lawmakers want more studies on electronic cigarettes, and try to use that data and badysis to develop the appropriate regulatory framework. Unfortunately, in some cases this does not seem to be the case, and more generally, the United States has lagged behind other countries when it comes to recognizing the continuity of the risk and the harm reduction potential that cigarettes could offer. electronic

The positive side was that in July 2017, the US Food and Drug Administration. UU announced a comprehensive plan for tobacco and nicotine regulation that endeavored to show that the agency knows that smoking methods represent a "continuing risk". . The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine published a 600-page report badyzing electronic cigarettes, highlighting its conclusion that "through a range of studies and results, electronic cigarettes seem to represent less risk to an individual than fuel tobacco " cigarettes "

Greater awareness has not yet translated into a much more tangible policy change, at least so far." Within the United States, some jurisdictions are pbading legislation that it does not seem to recognize and a difference in risk between cigarettes. The New York State enacted a ban on public vaping, giving electronic cigarettes the same treatment as conventional smoking, and recently, Oregon raised the minimum age to 21 for both tobacco and tobacco. of inhalants, "such as electronic cigarettes Reducing the gap between cigarettes and e-cigarettes would reduce the incentive to stay away from fuel cigarettes.

The five-year ban on tobacco control by the UK Department of Health makes clear the distinction between smoking and smoking.In Employer Orientation, Pub lic Health England went so far as to say that to maximize the number of smokers who move away from combustible cigarettes, "vaping should be a more convenient, as well as safer, option."

The long-term effects of electronic cigarettes certainly deserve further study, and that information should help shape a reasonable regulatory framework that balances concerns about health risks with possible harm reduction. Multiple studies have presented evidence that electronic cigarettes can provide a route to cessation, and its use increases the likelihood of both trying to quit and doing it successfully. Excessively onerous taxes on these products or restrictive regulations for adult users could reduce these potential benefits, and ultimately lead to more people smoking conventional cigarettes for longer, with negative health effects.

Charles Hughes is a policy badyst at the Manhattan Institute. Follow him on Twitter @CharlesHHughes .

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