Wednesday, 16 March 2016

E-Cigarettes: Higher Age Restrictions in Jersey

E-Cigarettes: Higher Age Restrictions in Jersey

I read this on Channel News:

“Under-18s in Jersey could be banned from using e-cigarettes as early as next month. The Health Minister has lodged a draft law meaning it would be illegal for anyone to sell 'nicotine inhaling products' to anyone under the age of 18. “

“Senator Andrew Green says e-cigarettes are not risk free and contain harmful chemicals.

The legislation is expected to be rubber stamped by the States Assembly at the end of April.

I’ve no objection to him changing the law on those grounds. But what I hope is that members will do some homework rather than just “rubber stamping” the legislation.

Here is some information which may help.

Currently the law prohibits the sale of cigarettes to persons under the age of 18, but not e-cigarettes. This is the same as in the UK.

ASH, in their report for November 2015, has some useful general statistics on smoking:

“Two-thirds of smokers start before age 18. Of those who try smoking between one-third and one half will become regular smokers. It is illegal to sell cigarettes to any person under the age of 18”

“Smoking prevalence is highest in the 25-34 age group (25%) and lowest amongst those aged 60 and over (11%).
“Smoking rates are much higher among poorer people. In 2013, 12% of adults in managerial and professional occupations smoked compared with 29% in routine and manual occupations.”

The Centre for Environmental Health, in their September 2015 briefing, notes that as well as nicotine, the majority of 97 e-cigarettes and other “vaping” products tested produce high levels of the cancer-causing chemicals formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.

The report stated that: “. A test on one e-cigarette found the level of formaldehyde was more than 470 times higher than the California safety standard.”

And it noted that: “Teen use of e-cigarettes is skyrocketing: among 8th and 10th graders, twice as many say they use e-cigarettes as compared to those who smoke traditional cigarettes, with 17% of high school seniors nationally saying they smoke e-cigarettes.”

Now here is the important part of the story, relating to e-cigarettes in Jersey:

“The industry also claims e-cigarettes are safe smoking cessation devices, but experts say e-cigarettes are more likely a gateway to traditional tobacco: a recent study of high schoolers who used e-cigarettes found that they are almost twice as likely as non-users to start smoking traditional cigarettes.”

They note that” E-cigarette use is particularly problematic for pregnant teens and young women, since exposure to nicotine and other chemicals during pregnancy can contribute to small babies, premature birth, and stillbirth.”

In fact, the take-up numbers could be even higher. New research from the medical journal BMJ found that teenagers who use e-cigarettes are more than three times as likely to be smoking traditional cigarettes a year later.

The paper was entitled “Longitudinal study of e-cigarette use and onset of cigarette smoking among high school students in Hawaii”. It had a baseline sample of 2338 students (9th and 10th graders, mean age 14.7 years) in Hawaii surveyed in 2013 (time 1, T1) and followed up 1 year later (time 2,T2).

It stated that: “We assessed e-cigarette use, tobacco cigarette use, and psychosocial covariates (demographics, parental support and monitoring, and sensation seeking and rebelliousness).”

Their conclusion: “Adolescents who use e-cigarettes are more likely to start smoking cigarettes. This result together with other findings suggests that policies restricting adolescents’ access to e-cigarettes may have a rationale from a public health standpoint.”

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