Unintended Consequences of Restricting Flavored E-Cigarette Sales

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Unintended Consequences of Restricting Flavored E-Cigarette Sales
Many policymakers limiting flavored e-cigarette sales may inadvertently drive users to purchase more dangerous traditional cigarettes, according to a Yale study.

Recently, according to a report by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH), many policymakers are restricting the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. However, this measure may have unintended consequences and actually encourage users to switch to more dangerous conventional cigarettes.


After conducting extensive and long-term analysis of policy and sales data, it has been found that for every 0.7 milliliters decrease in e-cigarette liquid sales, there is an increase of 15 cigarette sales. This substitution is particularly evident among the younger population, especially among those under the age of 20 who prefer specific cigarette brands.


Abigail S. Friedman, an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Yale School of Public Health, stated:


Since smoking and using e-cigarettes are both not entirely safe, but current evidence suggests that smoking causes more harm to health than using nicotine-containing e-cigarette products. The public health costs of these policies may outweigh their benefits.


Researchers from Yale University utilized rigorous statistical tools to estimate the long-term impact of e-cigarette flavor restrictions on e-cigarette and cigarette sales in 16 states. They also examined the differences in brand usage between adolescents and adults for these effects.


During the course of the study, hundreds of localities and seven states have imposed restrictions or bans on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. While these policies have indeed reduced per capita sales of e-cigarettes, they have significantly increased sales of combustible cigarettes. Based on these findings, policymakers may want to consider alternative methods to protect public health, the authors wrote in their study.


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