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Raising legal vaping age to 21 increases teen smoking rates, says Cornell University

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When states like California and Hawaii passed new laws that raised the legal smoking and vaping age to 21, many in the vaping community found this action to be no big deal. After all, most local vape shops, vendors, and retailers had already been self-implementing a similar policy on their own for over a year. Now, a recent study published by Cornell University might be making fools out of all of us.

The vaping community has long been accused by anti-tobacco activists that we intentionally target our advertising campaigns toward teenagers by offering such outlandish e-liquid flavors like bubblegum and cotton candy. Never mind that adults love those sweet sensations, too, and adults are the ones who want to quit smoking via vaping.

Cornell says raising the legal vaping and smoking age to 21 will backfire

But according to scientists from Cornell University, when states and municipalities induce legislation that restricts the purchase of vaping products to American youth, the teen smoking rates in those communities immediately begin to climb - and so do the rates for teen marijuana use. The study entitled The influence of electronic cigarette age purchasing restrictions on adolescent tobacco and marijuana use is readily available in the online journal Preventative Medicine.

“For cigarette use, we separate our results into cigarette use frequency. We found causal evidence that ENDS age purchasing restrictions increased adolescent regular cigarette use by 0.8 percentage points. ENDS age purchasing restrictions were not associated with cigar use, smokeless tobacco use, or marijuana use.’

When we stop to think about it, do we really need a group of Cornell PhDs to tell us that raising the legal smoking and vaping age is an alarmingly bad idea? As most over-40 vapers can tell us, buying a pack of cigarettes as a teenager was really not that difficult. And most teens today would agree that not much has changed.

Because the vaping community has been accused for so long that we use pedophiliac strategies in our marketing campaigns, we routinely and aggressively ID our customers. Meanwhile, the cashier at the neighborhood convenience store still finds carding a fellow peer for a pack of cigarettes rather intimidating.

Is it any wonder that teens will automatically choose cigarettes – which are infinitely easier to buy than vaping products? According to Cornell, raising the legal smoking and vaping age to 21 may be essentially pushing American teens into the arms of Big Tobacco. 

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