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Widespread Bans Of Flavored E-Cigarettes Could Bring Unintended Consequences
New York has become the latest state to push for a ban of flavored e-cigarette products, following a similar move by Michigan and an announcement from President Trump seeking a federal ban on certain vaping products.
Joseph Ditre is an associate professor of psychology at Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences. Prof. Ditre says banning flavored e-cigs could reduce the appeal for some, but could also trigger unintended consequences related to other non-regulated products and combustible tobacco options.
“The uptake of e-cigarettes among America’s youth is alarming, and there is mounting evidence that some flavors (like bubble gum, mango, and cotton candy) are especially appealing to youth and current nonsmokers. Although banning such flavors could very well reduce the appeal and uptake of e-cigarettes, it also seems prudent to consider potential unintended consequences.
“For example, might a ban on flavoring in e-cigarette products sold by corporations that are subject to regulation or state/federal inquiry inadvertently give rise to adolescents and young adults seeking out ‘bootleg’ or ‘off the street’ flavored products? There is also some question as to whether such a ban could prompt new or renewed interest in either combustible tobacco products (like cigars and cigarillos) or emerging alternative nicotine products (like orbs, sticks, and strips) that continue to be sold in a variety of appealing colors and flavors.
“In other words, why is the movement toward flavor bans mainly focused on e-cigarettes?
“Finally, there is substantial clinical and empirical interest in the potential utility of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation or reduction, and it is difficult to predict how flavor bans might impact adults who are interested in transitioning away from traditional tobacco cigarettes.”
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