A brand-new study shows that when the government attempts to fix a problem, it makes things worse. Americans are still trying to figure out how to stop smoking tobacco. Vaping devices and e-cigarettes have been promoted as effective nicotine delivery methods that can help people quit.
Lots of states and towns, on the other hand, have passed laws and policies that make it harder to sell flavored electronic nicotine delivery methods. Supporters of these measures say that businesses that sell these goods are trying to attract younger people, especially kids who aren’t old enough to buy them. But a study from the Yale School of Public Health’s Dept. of Health Policy & Management reveals that these government rules are making things worse instead of better.
“Over 375 US cities and 7 states have banned the sale of flavored electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) for good. It’s still not clear how these rules will affect burning cigarette use (also called ‘smoking’), which is a more dangerous practice.”
“We found that the new flavor policy led to the sale of 15 more cigarettes for every 0.7 mL ENDS pod that wasn’t sold because of the flavor restrictions. Also, sales of cigarettes go up even for brands that teens and young adults use a lot. Because of this, any health benefits from limiting flavors that come from ENDS may be canceled out by the health costs that come from more people smoking.”
A troubling trend was found when the study looked at store sales statistics from 44 states. When limits were put on ENDS flavors, people bought a lot more cigarettes, the study found. The trend was the same for all types of smoke products, even ones that are popular with young people.
Researchers found that making it illegal for adults to buy flavored vape goods makes smoking even worse. Simply put, people are turning back to cigarettes because the government won’t let them smoke something else. This is bad for public health.
The study’s results bring up an important point that people who support government involvement often miss: when the state controls people’s decisions, especially when it involves the substances they choose to use, the results are usually bad. It’s also funny that the Food and Drug Administration, which paid for the study, won’t allow vaping products that don’t taste like tobacco.
Flavored vapes are limited, which creates an “inequitable tradeoff” that hurts the 11.2% of American adults who smoke the most. In the end, these rules are likely to kill many more people than they will ever stop.