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What Tobacco Minimum Age Requirements Can Tell Us About Vaping Restrictions

What Tobacco Minimum Age Requirements Can Tell Us About Vaping Restrictions

 

Vaping and smoking are completely separate in terms of relative harm, but for some reason both are treated the same in most state legislation, especially concerning laws that dictate minimum age requirements for purchasing products.


Age requirements are a complicated issue in the vaping universe. On one hand, we think it’s great for more people to be able to legally obtain vaping products. But many of us are parents before we're vapers, so we can also see the point to common sense regulations that discourage teenagers from obtaining access to tobacco and vape products alike.


Today, we've arrived at a point where many states are seeking to raise the the minimum age requirements for tobacco products and vaping from 18 to 21. Already, five states have raised the age: California, New Jersey, Hawaii, Oregon, and Maine. This has been the subject of considerable controversy and political activism from anti-smoking advocates who are lobbying for similar treatment in other states.


Let's take a few minutes to compare and contrast the differing views on age restrictions - remember that here at Breazy the only "side" we take is the side of following the law.


Argument For No Added Regulation


In the Union-Bulletin, a Washington State paper, the editorial board has argued that education about the dangers of smoking is much more effective than raising the minimum age for tobacco sales.


"The logic here is troubling," reads the editorial board, responding to the anti-smoking advocates and a report by the National Academies Press. "Should the legal age for buying alcohol be raised to 25 so people under 21 will have a harder time getting hold of booze?"


This has often been an argument for advocates of less regulation: government oversight doesn’t do enough to keep people away from either smoking or vaping, and that through education (we'll credit our blog here for that),  you can learn not just how but why to avoid the dangers of combustible cigarettes.


Even if regulations are put in place, the Union-Bulletin argues that those who want nicotine products will just “rely on older friends” to get it for them, which is probably true.     


Historical Perspective


For more clarity on the issue, let's turn to an historical review by Dorie E. Apollonio and Stanton A. Glantz (noted anti-vape crusader), who wrote a review entitled "Minimum Ages of Legal Access for Tobacco in the United States From 1863 to 2015," published in the US National Library of Medicine in July 2016.


Some of the conclusions drawn by Apollonio and Glantz contrast the claims made by the Union-Bulletin editorial board, and fell more in line with the report by the National Academies Press.


At one point roughly 100 years ago, the pair argue, tobacco products were nominally regulated to prohibit their sale to persons under 21. In the 1920s, age statues fell to allow teens between 16 and 18 years of age to purchase tobacco, though widespread anecdotal evidence indicates these restrictions were rarely acknowledged, with children as young as eight or nine often allowed to buy cigarettes "for their parents."

"The increasing evidence on tobacco addiction suggests that restoring MLAs (minimum age of legal access) to 21 years would reduce smoking initiation and prevalence, particularly among those younger than 18 years," the duo write.


Conclusion


Unlike the tobacco industry’s history of lobbying, vapers are, by and large, understanding and tolerant when it comes to regulations. At Breazy, as with most other vaping websites, the minimum age of entry is twenty-one, and this is one thing that separates the vaping industry from the Big Tobacco corporations.  


Again, we don't take a stand on what is or isn't an appropriate age at which one should be considered an adult, and we'll continue to stridently enforce the strictest regulations to ensure vapor products don't end up in underage hands.

acuity