City Bans All New Vape Shops From Opening Amid Hysteria Over Teen Use

Steve Birr | Contributor

A city in Utah is giving into hysteria over the alleged “gateway” effect electronic cigarettes have on teens, moving to ban any new vape shops from opening in the community.

The Washington City Council voted unanimously Wednesday in favor of the ban on tobacco specialty shops, citing rising levels of vaping among adolescents in the region. The Southwest Utah Public Health Department previously encouraged the city to take the substantial step due to the debunked “gateway” theory that vaping creates tobacco smokers out of American teens, reports Fox 13.

The “gateway” theory on vaping was previously debunked in a collaborative study by researchers at the University of Stirling and Public Health England; however, tobacco control crusaders continue to push the myth.

“For us, it’s a health-related issue,” said Kye Nordfelt, director of health promotions for the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, according to Fox 13. “We’re seeing a significant rise in e-cigarette use among teenagers. We’ve seen it rise about 350 percent over the last few years.”

The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse and the University of Michigan’s annual Monitoring the Future Survey, released Dec. 14, shows reported cigarette use among 12th graders fell to 4.2 percent this year, down from 24.6 percent in 1997, even as the number of youth using vaping devices increased.

Despite increased youth experimentation with e-cigarettes, smoking rates continue to tumble.

Public health experts agree that efforts to reduce public access to combustible cigarettes are admirable, however, they argue those efforts are bolstered, not undermined, by vaping devices. They say if American cities truly want to promote better lifestyle choices, regulators should stop targeting the vapor industry, which is helping millions of smokers ditch the deadly habit.

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Steve Birr

Contributor

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