E-cigarettes and FDA Tobacco Regulation
E-cigarettes and other forms of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) are radically transforming the tobacco marketplace and creating new challenges for tobacco regulatory efforts. According to several national surveys, 2014 was the first year that teenagers reported being more likely to currently use ENDS than cigarettes. The Food and Drug Administration has proposed basic regulations of ENDS on a national level (including a national minimum legal purchase age for ENDS, and warning label affixed to all ENDS products), but these regulations have not yet been implemented. In the meantime, state governments are passing their own regulations. In 2010, New Jersey became the first state to establish a minimum legal purchase age for ENDS and also to ban the use of ENDS in public places. By 2014, 40 states had passed minimum legal purchase ages and 12 states had passed some form of ENDS indoor use restrictions. One influential study by the British government recently suggests that ENDS only cause 5% of the harm of cigarettes. If ENDS and cigarettes are substitute goods, then ENDS regulations could inadvertently cause harm to public health if substitution effects for cigarettes are sufficiently strong. In our session, three papers explore the effects of regulating ENDS on the demand for cigarettes. Two papers exploit state-level variation in ENDS minimum legal purchase ages, and a third paper exploits variation from ENDS indoor use restrictions. Two papers find evidence of ENDS and cigarettes being substitute goods, and a third paper finds evidence of a complement goods relationship.