The FDA has now proposed a national minimum purchasing age of 18. In your study you suggest a potential increase in cigarette use following ENDS age purchasing restrictions. Do you think we will see an increase in adolescent cigarette use or marijuana use in response to the new FDA regulation on minimum age for ENDS purchase?
I don’t suspect we will see an increase in cigarette use because almost all states had e-cigarette purchasing laws in place by the time the FDA rule came into effect. However, states have the option to increase their tobacco purchasing ages to higher than 18, which many states are already doing. If states increase their purchasing ages for both cigarettes and vaping products to 21, I suspect that we will see a corresponding increase in cigarette use among 18-20 year olds because there is no extra incentive to use vaping devices to quit or reduce regular cigarette consumption. Without commenting on the merits of raising the cigarette purchasing age to 21, my research suggests it would be better to increase the purchasing age to 21 only for cigarettes, and leave the purchasing age for e-cigarettes at 18.
My research has found no evidence of substitution between e-cigarettes and marijuana, but more research is clearly needed in this area. Some people may vape instead of using marijuana, and others may now use marijuana more regularly because many vaping devices can vaporize marijuana so that it can be consumed more discretely.