To help smokers quit, make them vapers

No Vaping sign

(Mike Mozart photo via Wikimedia Commons)

As the sale of electronic cigarettes has grown over the past decade, so has public debate over regulating their use. Do e-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine but not tobacco tar, lead young people on to cigarette smoking, with all its known health risks? Or is vaping a boon because it helps cigarette smokers quit?

Last week, as the Los Angeles City Council banned the use of e-cigarettes in public places, and the California Legislature and Federal Drug Administration each considered anti-vaping measures, professor Stephen Sugarman joined the fray with an op-ed in the L.A. Times.

“Blanket laws discouraging the use of e-cigarettes are the wrong policy,” wrote Sugarman, a law prof with public-health expertise.

Instead, he proposes a “harm reduction” strategy to fight smoking, via a trio of policies he says “would encourage rather than discourage e-cigarette use” and thus “nudge many more Americans to quit smoking.”

Read his op-ed on vaping here.