Georgia State University has just received a 1.4 million dollar grant to study vaping legislation. This 4-year experiment is financed by the American Department of Health. The goal of the research is to determine the impact of regulations on the ways Americans consume vaping products.
Michael Pesko was tasked with coordinating the different research labs involved in this large-scale project. Pesko is an economist specialised in health and considers that it is vital to understand the influence of legal regulations on the usage of nicotine substitute products. Indeed, taxing, penalising, or liberalising vaping changes the behaviour of smokers. Facilitated access to e-cigarettes helps tobacco-smokers make the switch, and helps them stay away from smoking. Yet, if regulations are too lax, non-smokers may become curious and begin vaping.
This fear is far from irrational, given products designed and targeted towards adolescents have recently hit the shelves. Manufacturers are happy to increase their turnover, but risk developing addictions among younger populations. Even if the vast majority of the scientific community agree that vaping products are less harmful to health than cigarettes, this does not mean there is no danger, in particular for younger people whose brains are still developing.
A necessary study for more effective regulation
Michael Pesko’s study will take into account sales figures for traditional cigarette, e-cigs, nicotine substitutes, but also heat-not-burn tobacco. Given that vaping regulations are highly variable from one State to the next, different universities throughout the country are getting involved in the project.
Since the first electronic cigarette was launched, governments have adopted a range of regulatory frameworks, some more lax than others, regarding the sale and consumption of e-cigs. The results should shed some much-needed light on the issue to help governments determine the best regulations for an effective public health policy.