To the editor
The scientific evidence for supporting the California Tobacco 21 Initiative is strong and is based on an Institute of Medicine Report (editorial March 6, 2016: “Raise the legal age for cigarettes”). There is no similar body of evidence that would support the other bill before the governor which would classify of electronic cigarettes as tobacco products.
Many of the recent declines in smoking are attributed to the use of electronic cigarettes. The majority of individuals who take up e-cigarettes do so in order to reduce their risk of tobacco related disease. E-cigarette use has been shown to promote additional quit attempts in smokers and half the users experience a fifty percent reduction in the amount smoked. In England, The National Health Service has recently initiated programs to dispense e-cigarettes for these purposes.
Increased restrictions on electronic cigarettes, other than limiting sales to young people, are contrary to public health and the public interest.
Edward Anselm, MD
New York, NY
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Senior Fellow, R Street Institute