States Raising the Legal Vaping Age
Before people realized how dangerous it was, smoking cigarettes used to be popular among the youth. Smoking is incredibly addictive and as a drug rehab in Pennsylvania, we have seen many patients who struggle with smoking along with another substance abuse problem. Now that the dangers of cigarettes are plastered everywhere, a new craze has taken over. Vaping and e-cigarettes have quickly swept the nation and young Americans are hopping on board. In 2018, it was estimated that tobacco use among high school teens was at its lowest at 3.6%, but 37.3% of high schoolers reported vaping in the past year; this is up from 27.8% from just the year before.1 With vaping only rising in popularity among teens and adolescents, talk of raising the legal vaping age has increased.
Changing the Legal Age to Vape
Currently the legal age for vaping, as well as buying tobacco products, is determined by the states. For some states, the vape age is the legal age that someone can buy tobacco, 18. Although this has long been the norm, some states have started to change the law in an attempt to keep teens from vaping.
There are currently 15 states that have passed laws raising the legal age to buy tobacco to 21 including Virginia, Delaware and Maryland. Pennsylvania is currently debating this law change. There is also talk at the national level to raise this age. The problem is that not all states consider vaping products to qualify as tobacco products. For a while, vaping has tried to separate itself from traditional tobacco products like cigarettes by marketing itself as the safe alternative, but some states have pushed to include vaping in this category. Maryland, for example, is one such state that has passed a law making the legal vaping age 21 by classifying vape products as tobacco products. This law will come into effect on October 1st for Maryland.
Some people fear that these new law changes will do little to affect the growing vaping trend. Some argue that having the legal vaping age set at 21 is similar to having a drinking age of 21 and that does little to prevent underage drinking. Others note that changing the age to vape means little when vaping companies are marketing to teens with their flavored products. Traditional marketing strategies for cigarettes have been banned, but vaping does not have these same strict regulations.
As an inpatient detox center in Pennsylvania, this new growing trend is of concern for us, and as a parent, you should be concerned too. Research has shown that vaping is just as addictive as regular cigarettes and may lead to a smoking addiction.2 Nicotine is also considered a gateway drug and can lead to another drug problem later on, especially with cocaine or marijuana.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, get assistance immediately. At Clearbrook Treatment Centers, we want to help you. Call us today at 570-536-9621 to learn more about our Pennsylvania treatment centers and overcome your addiction.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse – Teens using vaping devices in record numbers
- National Institute on Drug Abuse – Teens and E-cigarettes
- National Institute of Health – Why Nicotine is a Gateway Drug