Published in JAMA Pediatrics, the study titled, “Changes in Prevalence of Vaping Among Youths in the United States, Canada, and England from 2017 to 2019”, believes that the Higher nicotine content available in North America as opposed to Europe, may be to blame.
Public health experts have long argued that setting nicotine caps on safer alternatives such as vaping products, would have a detrimental effect on national smoking rates, pushing former smokers back to smoking.
Within the EU, the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) which came into effect in May 2017, bans the sales of nicotine containing e-liquids above 20 mg/ml. Public health experts have long argued that setting nicotine caps on safer alternatives such as vaping products, would have a detrimental effect on national smoking rates, pushing former smokers back to smoking.
However on the flip side, the regulation may be having a positive effect on teen vaping rates, ensuring that teens do not become addicted to nicotine. A survey of more than 12,000 Canadians aged between 16 and 19 conducted between 2017 and 2019, found that the number of participants reporting previous month use had more than doubled, from 8.4% in 2017 to 17.8% in 2019.
Similar rates observed in the US but not in the UK
The percentage of teens who reported using e-cigarettes more than 20 times in the previous month jumped from 1.8% to 5.7%, and the overall number of Canadian young people who reported ever trying vaping rose to 40.6% in 2019, from 29.3% in 2017.
“That is stunning, and there needs to be pressing action by federal and provincial governments to reduce youth vaping through a series of measures,” said Rob Cunningham, a senior policy analyst with the Canadian Cancer Society. Study author David Hammond, a public health professor at the University of Waterloo, said that similar trends were observed amongst American teens but not British ones (where vaping is marketed as a safer alternative).
The 20mg/ml nicotine cap in Europe
Hammond pointed out that unlike the 20 milligrams per millilitre cap enforced in Europe, the maximum amount of nicotine content currently allowed in e-cigarettes in Canada is more than triple that of the EU, at 66 milligrams per millilitre. He added, that Juul likely also plays a major role.
“This phenomenon was probably driven by Juul and the type of product and nicotine concentration in Juul,” Hammond said. “We’ve seen increases in the use of Juul and Juul-like products among kids to the same extent in Canada as the U.S., so that’s why we think that that probably is the main reason that explains why England has not seen the same increases.”
In response to these claims, a spokesperson for Juul Labs Canada Labs insisted that they are committed to working with regulators, policymakers, and law enforcement to combat underage use. “We do not want any non-nicotine users, especially those underage, to try our products since our products exist solely to help adult smokers find an alternative to combustible cigarettes,” the spokesperson said.
Read Further: CBC
NZ Study Finds No Teen Vaping Epidemic in New Zealand
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