There is a big debate going on right now whether electronic cigarettes should be sold to minors. So far, at least 6 states have prohibited e-cigarette sale to minors: California, Colorado, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Utah. It makes sense that we should protect our kids from any tobacco-derived product, because most e-cigarettes contain nicotine. But what about the non-nicotine e-cigs? Should teenagers be able to buy those? Obviously vaping the non-nicotine e-cigarette may lead to trying the nicotine version. Alright, no argument there, then what about the unfortunate kids who somehow, are already heavy smokers? Shouldn’t they be allowed to use nicotine patches or nicotine gum to help them quit smoking? Both are available over the counter, but should a teen trying to quit tobacco be denied access to NRT’s if he is under 18?
The FDA may not officially recognize e-cigarettes as smoking cessation devices, but that doesn’t mean e-cigarettes haven’t been used as such. Many ex-smokers swear that they would never have been able to quit smoking, were it not for e-cigarettes. All those who have unsuccessfully tried quitting smoking time and time again, praise e-cigarettes as the only truly manageable way to quit smoking gradually. Of these ex-smokers some will continue to vape nicotine e-cigarettes indefinitely, while others completely give up the smoking habit altogether and don’t keep vaping.
Then how do you define “quitting smoking”? Does it mean to “no longer inhale smoke”? E-cigarettes don’t produce smoke since there is no combustion. So then, are people who inhale water vapor with nicotine, smokers or vapers? Nicotine is a tobacco derived product, but if you’re not inhaling smoke, then you’re not a smoker. In other words vapers cannot be called smokers, since vapers vape and smokers smoke.
It would make sense to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors to prevent them from picking up any bad habits, but parents with smoker teens should be allowed to help their child quit smoking by whatever means are successful, not excluding electronic cigarettes. In other words minors should be allowed to use e-cigarettes, with the intention of quitting smoking, with the parents’ approval and supervision.
There would be no point whatsoever to try and police minors vaping e-cigarettes: it would be a waste of manpower and money. Like with any issue there is always more than one perspective and opinion, and everyone should be heard.
“In my opinion, electronic cigarette companies which are claiming that use of their products reduces the health risks associated with cigarette smoking are making factual statements for which there is plentiful scientific evidence.” -Professor M. Siegel, MD, Boston U.