On Wednesday, June 23, 2021, the House Committee on Oversight and the Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy will hold a hearing on youth vaping.

From the very beginning, R Street’s Harm Reduction policy program has focused on the important work of reducing the damage done to public health by smoking. Through research and education, we demonstrate that a one-size-fits-all approach does not work for all who try to quit combustible cigarettes. Instead, our research emphasizes a practical, data-driven and liberty-minded approach to harm reduction. We will continue this research to better understand the dynamics between ongoing regulatory efforts to reduce youth vaping and how they might undermine efforts to mitigate smoking rates among adults.

Below are five important pieces that provide an overview of our positions on youth vaping, flavor bans, the FDA’s (Food and Drug Administration) Premarket Tobacco Application (PMTA) process and tobacco taxation:

1. E-Cigarettes: Frequently Asked Questions

The basics of e-cigarettes, flavors, their regulation, future requirements, the FDA’s Premarket Tobacco Product Applications and more.

2. Where R Street stands on tobacco, nicotine and vaping

“If there’s one crystal clear conclusion that comes out of the last half-century or so of public health research, it’s this: smoking cigarettes is both addictive and exceptionally unhealthy. People, especially adolescents, should not start smoking and anyone who does would be well advised to quit. For these reasons, from its very beginning, R Street has looked at ways we might limit the damage that smoking causes to personal and public health.”

3. Don’t Ban Today What May Have a PMTA Tomorrow

“Tobacco retailers and manufactures are rightfully subject to significant regulatory oversight. Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the primary regulatory agency for tobacco products, states and localities have a tremendous amount of latitude to regulate availability of tobacco products. In the case of novel tobacco products, such as electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), this has resulted in a national patchwork of regulations and rules that change as fast as the mile markers along the highway.

When it comes to regulating novel tobacco products, states and localities see a need to act now to protect public health and decrease youth use of e-cigarettes. However, rather than banning novel tobacco products, state and local legislators should account for the FDA’s Premarket Tobacco Application (PMTA) process in any regulatory decision by implementing sunset provisions for products that are awarded PMTAs by the FDA.”

4. Banning Flavored E-Cigarettes Could Have Unintended Public Health Consequences

 “A review of the research on e-cigarettes as smoking cessation tools, the appeal of flavors and the impacts of other tobacco legislation suggest that flavor bans will likely have both public health benefits and consequences. Two potential consequences stand out: unintended harms to consumers through the disruption of smoking cessation efforts and the growth of counterfeit and contraband products; and harm to communities via lost funding for broader health resources.”

5. The Tobacco Tax Equity Act of 2021 Is a Blunt Instrument

“A harm reduction approach to tobacco product taxation involves ensuring that taxation levels are proportionate to the health risks of the product. This creates an incentive for people to choose less harmful products. Since the Tobacco Tax Equity Act of 2021 seeks to equalize taxes on all tobacco products, this legislation risks discouraging people from choosing less harmful products.”

Featured Publications