ARLINGTON, VA — The American Consumer Institute (ACI) releases its Tobacco Harm Reduction and the Teen Epidemic white paper:

Despite laws prohibiting all tobacco product use by those under 21 years of age, youth smoking and vaping continue. While teens should neither vape nor smoke, some high school students have chosen to use nicotine products anyway and find ways around the laws. While more needs to be done to prevent this, we shouldn’t push those that use vaping products to more dangerous ignited smoking products.

As this paper shows, while vaping has increased among high school seniors, the amount of smoking has plummeted. Because vaping is approximately 95% safer than smoking, the tradeoff of smoking for vaping has sharply reduced total teen risks in recent years. Those citing a teen epidemic as justification for regulations are taking a position that is not supported by empirical evidence and espousing views that do more harm than good, because these regulations and restrictions may push teens and adults back to more dangerous cigarette smoking.

Failure by regulators and legislators to recognize a continuum of product risks oddly encourages more risky choices for adult and teenage consumers, thereby encouraging smoking and increasing health risks.