In an editorial calling for regulations which would put obstacles in front of adults who seek to quit smoking by switching to e-cigarettes, The Sun's editorial board relies on a powerfully debunked innuendo and preposterous logic ("Teens and e-cigarettes," Aug. 23).
The basis for the paper's concern that e-cigarettes cause teens to smoke cigarettes is entirely unfounded. In fact, the small survey the piece cites acknowledges that an association between teen experimentation with e-cigarette use and subsequent smoking is not causal. In fact, teens who are likely to try e-cigarettes are the very teens already at risk for trying smoking, accounting for any association.
In fact, in a landmark government report released this month, the United Kingdom's Public Health England found that "there is no evidence so far that e-cigarettes are acting as a route into smoking for children or non-smokers."
Regardless, as The Sun points out, there's no debate: teens shouldn't vape. That's why local, state, and soon-to-be-finalized federal regulations forbid it unconditionally.
But the piece argues without basis that Maryland should regulate e-cigarettes as if they were tobacco products like cigarettes. Why? Because allowing adults to use e-cigarettes — even in bars where teens don't hang out — would somehow lead youth to vaping. That's not only silly, it is potentially harmful because it suggests that the two very different products are equally harmful to adults. The UK study found that e-cigarettes "have the potential to make a significant contribution to the endgame for tobacco." This will only be possible for Marylanders if state regulations are based in science and reality.
Jeff Stier, Washington, D.C.
The writer is a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research.