RESEARCH 2020

 

ALBANY COUNTY FLAVOR BAN UNLIKELY TO REDUCE YOUTH VAPING, BUT WOULD BOOST BLACK MARKET
 

October 18, 201
Upstate New York.jpg
  • Legislators in Albany County, New York are considering a local ordinance that would prohibit the sales of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars, pipe and smokeless tobacco, and electronic cigarettes and vaping devices.

  • Premium cigars and hookah products would be exempt.

  • The bill’s primary sponsor, Paul Miller (D-Guilderkand), intends to “reduce the use of vaping and flavored tobacco products, particularly among youth.”

  • Although addressing youth use of tobacco products is laudable, there is little evidence that flavor bans reduce youth e-cigarette use. Further, youth use of other tobacco products, including cigars, cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, is at an all-time low.

  • Flavors are essential in e-cigarettes.

    • A 2018 survey of nearly 70,000 American adult vapers found flavors played an important role, with 83.2 percent and 72.3 percent of respondents vaping fruit and dessert flavors, respectively, “at least some of the time.”

  • Flavor bans do not reduce youth e-cigarette use.

  • Santa Clara County, California, banned flavored tobacco product sales to age-restricted stores in 2014. Despite this, youth e-cigarette use increased while the ban was in effect. For example, in the 2015-16 CYTS, 7.5 percent of Santa Clara high school students reported current use of e-cigarettes. In the 2017-18 CYTS, this increased to 10.7 percent.

  • Such bans will likely produce a big uptick in business on black markets. A 2012 study in the journal Addiction found a quarter of menthol smokers surveyed would find a way to purchase, even illegally, menthol cigarettes if a ban comes into effect.

  • Albany County residents (and New Yorkers, in general) are already all too familiar with the crazy consequences (intended and unintended) that come with heavy regulations and taxes on tobacco products.

Image by Gautier Salles

UTAH DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH LINKS MORE THAN 90 PERCENT OF VAPING HOSPITALIZATIONS TO THC, STILL RESTRICTS ACCESS TO TOBACCO HARM REDUCTION PRODUCTS

October 16, 2019
  • Lindsey Stroud examines reports by the Utah Department of Health (UDOH), which linked recent vaping-related illnesses to the use of vaping products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

  • UDOH has reported one death of a person the age of 30. UDOH “determined the individual vaped THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) prior to their death.”

  • In its investigation of adverse health effects related to e-cigarette use, UDOH has “reported 76 cases of vaping-related lung injuries.” UDOH officials note 94 percent of patients “self-reported vaping THC products.”

  • Other state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are consistently linking recent vaping-related hospitalizations to the use of unregulated, illegal vaping devices containing THC.

    • Minnesota, Oregon, Texas, and Wisconsin have all linked recent vaping-related lung illnesses to the use of THC vaping devices.

    • On October 3, CDC noted 78 percent of patients “reported using THC-containing products, with or without nicotine-containing products.”

  • The Utah Public Health Laboratory has tested 39 vaping devices, including 19 THC cartridges, and 20 vaping products containing nicotine.

    • According to its findings, 100 percent of the nicotine-containing devices “contained nicotine and none have shown unexpected compounds.”

    • On the other hand, 90 percent of “the THC cartridges contained Vitamin E acetate.”

  • UDOH issued an emergency rule on October 2, restricting the sales of flavored e-cigarette products.

    • Beginning October 7, Utah e-cigarette and tobacco retailers “shall display a mandatory warning sign, warning sign, warning consumers not to use electronic-cigarette products to consume unregulated THC electronic-cigarette substances.”

    • Further, only “retail tobacco specialty businesses with a valid retail tobacco specialty permit” are allowed to sell flavored e-cigarettes and vaping devices. General retailers, including convenience stores, may still sell “non-flavored electronic-cigarette products.”

    • The emergency rule is in place for 120 days.

  • Flavors are essential for e-cigarettes. Indeed, a 2018 survey of nearly 70,000 American adults who use e-cigarettes and vaping devices found 83.2 and 72.3 percent reported vaping fruit and dessert flavors, respectively. Moreover, only 20 percent of respondents reported using tobacco flavors at the point of e-cigarette initiation.

  • Moreover, many health groups, including UDOH, are linking recent hospitalizations to black-market THC brands.

  • One way Utah could address youth e-cigarette use is by dedicating additional funding towards tobacco control programs.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

©2020 by Tobacco Harm Reduction 101.