Cigarette Smoking Increases By 30 Percent Among Teens Due To Ban On Flavored Vaping Products In San Francisco

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A new study has shown that a ban on flavored vaping products in San Francisco to reduce smoking among youngsters has resulted in an opposite effect. A ban on the sale of flavored vaped and electronic cigarettes has been put in place in 2018. The officials have targeted this ban on vaping products, as they are quite popular among underage smokers. However, now the study has found that in the same year, California City has seen a 30 percent increase in underage people using cigarette smoking. At the same time, other parts of the country have been seeing a decline in cigarette smoking. The new study has been done by experts from the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH). They have said that the ban might have led high school-going young teenagers who might have been using the flavored nicotine to instead start smoking cigarettes.

Experts have said that smoking among teenagers has been declining across the country for years. The high popularity of flavored nicotine products like vapes and e-cigarettes has attracted more young people to use nicotine than before, said the experts. The authors of the study have said that this is the first report that has looked at the effects of the ban on cigarette smoking among teenagers. The findings of the study have been released in the Journal JAMA Pediatrics. One of the study authors, Dr. Abigail Friedman, who is also an assistant professor of health policy at Yale School of Public Health, has said that the findings of the study show a need for caution.

Health experts have said that neither cigarette smoking nor vaping nicotine or e-cigarettes are good for health but there are many shreds of evidence that show that cigarette smoking leads to greater harm substantially. As per the report, cigarette smoking is the cause of nearly one out of five adult deaths each year. The authors of the study have said that even if the ban is well-intentioned if it shoots up smoking habits among youth it can pose a great threat to public health. They have noted that cigarette smoking is more deadly as compared to smoking vaping products as while smoking cigarettes, people inhale tobacco as well along with other harmful chemicals, whereas people only inhale heated nicotine while smoking vaping products. The authors of the study have used survey data from Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Systems from different schools of the district to collect data on underage smoking around the country and in San Francisco.

Earlier when authorities have put up a ban on vaping products, they have hoped for a different effect with the idea that flavored vaping products will eventually lead young adults to cigarette smoking. Health experts have blamed flavored vaping products more often for the increase in nicotine abuse among young people. Last year, San Francisco has banned the sale of all types of electronic cigarettes and Chicago has prohibited the sale of all flavored nicotine. As per the report, the state of New York has been the first to ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products last year. A bill to ban flavored vaping products has been passed through the state legislature in Florida last year but it has been vetoed by Governor Ron DeSantis.

A survey that has been done in 2020 has revealed that around 80 percent of young people who have been using nicotine have used flavored vapes or electronic cigarettes. The survey has found many young adults have been switching to menthol cigarettes from flavored nicotine.  These menthol cigarettes have mint flavor as well, said the experts. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been targeting these menthol cigarettes. As per the experts, these cigarettes might be banned in the US any time soon during Joe Biden’s tenure. Although some people do not support the ban, the FDA has claimed that cigarettes are more harmful to people from minority groups and the younger population in the US.

Health experts have said that many countries such as Brazil and the UK have already banned these menthol cigarettes. Massachusetts as well as prohibited menthol cigarettes. Experts have said that there is a need for more research to find whether the data from the Yale study is just a shallow observation or a real sign that the ban on flavored vapes has brought more harm than good. Although the increasing trend of cigarette smoking in San Francisco is quite concerning as more nicotine and tobacco bans might be on the way in the US.