Earlier this month, the Scottish government got together to consider whether or not to ban the sale of e cigarettes to persons under the age of 18. Furthermore, government ministers are also considering making it illegal for adults to purchase electronic cigarettes for these minors. Should this ban pass, it follows the (legal) path that governments worldwide are blindly taking against e cigs. It simply seems that the Scottish government is just following other world governments in their “justice” against e cigs.
Much of the e cigarette news lately has revolved around minors. While officials may frown upon e cigarette use for adults, it seems they are especially concerned with teen usage as can be seen by the extraordinary amount of surveys conducted with teens/minors over the past year.
Due to there being no current bans in place against e cigarettes in Scotland, many people view this as harmful and dangerous to smokers and non-smokers alike. E cigarette brands can advertise freely and sell e cigarettes almost anywhere they please. This has been cited as one of the main factors as to why there are currently over 1.5 million e cigarette users in this market alone.
It is true that regular tobacco cigarettes are under constant scrutiny. In fact, more regulations against tobacco cigarettes in Scotland are set to start on April 6th. The good news is that there are *currently* no laws in place against the sale of e cigarettes. Nevertheless, we would not like to see e cigs fall in the same category as traditional cigarettes. Why should they? E cigarettes are not labelled as tobacco products. Moreover, we already know, without a doubt, the side effects of traditional cigarettes. Dozens of surveys on e-cigarettes, however, show that they are harmless or at the very least have minor side effects. But, governments are claiming that they are just too new and there is not enough information available right now, which to be fair, is relatively accurate. This was backed up by a Scottish government official who stated, “Electronic cigarettes are relatively new, and there is very little regulation of their sale and use. This consultation is the first step towards proper regulation of the devices in Scotland. We will carefully consider the responses and decide what the most appropriate next steps are.”
E Cigarette Shops
While Big Tobacco goes out of their way to get around advertising rules and to make quick money, electronic cigarette companies go out of their way to not sell to minors. Most e cigarette online stores have a prompt, when you first come to the website, which verifies you are 18 or older. Many also use advanced software and security checking tools during the checkout process. This makes it very difficult for minors/teens to manipulate.
If It Helps…
We do not condone e cigarette use for minors. However, the survey by ASH that we wrote about several weeks ago show extremely promising results for teens. It showed that teens who smoke regular cigarettes frequently used e cigarettes to help kick the tobacco habit. Now, we all know about the hormones in teenagers. They often rebel and many times it is difficult to get through to them. As parents, it is unlikely that you will sit your teen down for a talk, tell him/her to stop (or else), and magically they will listen. Everything is not black and white, and this is certainly the case here. Peer pressure is a factor. Rebellion is a factor. Hormones are a factor. They may tell you okay at home but then go off and smoke tobacco cigarettes at school with their friends. All that said, perhaps we should be more open to the idea to allow teenagers who smoke cigarettes to use e cigarettes as a means to quit smoking.