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Texas City Use Alarmism Over Youth Smoking To Float Vaping Crackdown

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Officials in a Texas city are gauging public support for raising the tobacco purchasing age, including for electronic cigarettes, citing dangers to youth.

The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District is mulling over a proposal called Tobacco 21, which is currently in place in five states and 250 cities across the country. Metro Health District Director Colleen Bridger says the measure, which will raise the tobacco purchasing age from 18 to 21, will help prevent young Americans from becoming future smokers, reports KSAT.

Bridger appears to conflate vaping with products that contain tobacco. Public health advocates focused on harm reduction note the devices only contain nicotine and point to recent research showing they are helping reduce the smoking rates both domestically and globally.

“If we raise the age to 21, we cut off a source of smoking to kids younger than 18,” Bridger told KSAT. “For the first time in a long time, we’re seeing an uptick in the use of tobacco, use in high school students, not so much cigarettes but e-cigarettes, vaping products. This [proposal] would include e-cigarettes, vaping products, hookah and all that. Because it has nicotine in it, it is addictive.”

Despite the continued hysteria by many public health officials on the impact vaping is having on youth, studies show their is no evidence to support the “gateway theory” that vaping leads kids to cigarettes.

A survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released June 15 revealed that after a rapid increase in youth vaping between 2011 and 2015, teens are now giving up the habit. The number of middle school and high school students who use a vaping device dropped from 3 million to 2.2 million in 2016.

While public health experts agree that efforts to reduce tobacco use are admirable, they argue those efforts are bolstered, not undermined, by vaping devices.

A study by researchers from the Georgetown University Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center released Aug. 31 reveals that vapers who use an e-cigarette on a regular basis vastly strengthen their chances of quitting over those who never try the device.

The results showed that smokers increase their chances to quit by 5 percent with each successive day they use a vaping device. The odds of successfully quitting rose by 59 percent for smokers who used an e-cigarette at least five days in a month. Those chances doubled for smokers who used a vaping device at least 20 days in a month.

A growing body of medical evidence shows that vaping is a much safer alternative to smoking. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently acknowledged the health benefits of e-cigarettes, and is now encouraging smokers to transition to vaping to reduce their health risks.

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Tags : texas
Steve Birr