Regulating Vaping Use among Teenagers
This assessment addresses the following course objective(s):
- Interpret research, bringing the nursing perspective, alongside perspectives of their administrative colleagues, for policy makers and stakeholders.
As a healthcare professional, effective communication is an essential skill for you to have. For this assignment, you will synthesize scientific research with relevant health policy, and write a professional editorial piece for public consumption.
Your role: Content contributor for The American Journal of Nursing
Audience: Healthcare professionals, nursing and administrative.
Format: 3-page paper, editorial style. Plus, a cover and reference page. A minimum of three scholarly sources should be included. In-text citations are required. APA style should be followed throughout.
- Refer to the article Engaging policy in science writing: Patterns and strategies within Unit 3 Topic 2 for additional guidance on using the “push” style of writing.
- Choose any scientific research topic, with relevant and reliable scholarly sources available for you to review. If your background is clinical, your focus may be heavy on the science or clinical elements. If your background is more administrative, you may choose research which is more closely related to a social issue (such as emergency contraceptives, vaping use, etc.)
- Choose a policy or proposed policy that directly relates to your area of scientific research.
- Write an editorial article, approximately 3 pages in length, summarizing the scientific research on your chosen topic, and aligning it with relevant health policy. Explain the need for increased awareness around the topic:
- Who needs to do something about it,
- When action is needed,
- What that action could look like, and
- Why such action will positively influence the future of healthcare.
Regulating Vaping Use among Teenagers
Although smoking rates have been declining significantly in the US since the mid-1960s, the use of e-cigarettes has exploded in the 21st century, especially among young people. In 2019 at least 27% of high school students reported using an e-cigarette in the past 30 days, while 6% of high school students reported using combustible cigarettes (Patterson et al., 2020). The use of e-cigarettes, therefore, doubled between 2017 and 2019, according to the CDC. The rising prevalence of vaping among young people has consequently drawn the attention of policymakers, who have become alarmed that the significant progress that has been made in controlling smoking in the past will be eroded (Sapru et al., 2020).
Over the years, federal and state governments have fully implemented several policies to combat the growth of vaping abuse among young people. One of the most recent policies that have been adopted by the Federal Government was the food and drug administration FDA burning all flavors of vaping except tobacco and menthol from February 2020 (Patterson et al., 2020).
However, despite the FDA utilizing its market review authority to try and control the use of e-cigarettes among the youth, its proposed changes did not cover various products that are sold in vape shops, including open tank system e-cigarettes, e-liquids, and disposable e-cigarettes (O’Connell & Kephart, 2020). Therefore, by deciding not to burn all flavors of tobacco products, The FDA, a policy that was adopted in February 2020, will not be successful in helping to limit e-cigarette use among the youth and especially teenagers. The FDA needs to ban all tobacco products with few or no exemptions. This is because adopting a universal ban on tobacco products could be the most effective way of restricting the access of the youth to e-cigarettes. Several studies have therefore indicated that menthol and tobacco e-cigarettes that the FDA has allowed remaining in the market are still appealing to young people. (O’Connell & Kephart, 2020) On the other hand, although many studies have shown that young people prefer candy or fruit-flavored pods of e-cigarettes, the unavailability of such flavors in the market will push more youth to purchase menthol-flavored e-cigarettes (O’Connell & Kephart, 2020).
Another concern related to the FDA’s policy to ban some flavors of e-cigarettes relates to how the organization is not committed to enforcing its policy. In the past, the FDA has typically ignored implementing several policies, especially when it comes to regulating tobacco products and fulfilling its full obligation and mandate, which includes protecting the general population from dangerous products such as e-cigarettes (O’Connell & Kephart, 2020).
The Federal Government using agencies such as the FDA needs to adopt a more vibrant approach to limit the availability of vaping devices to the youth. The two main approaches that the Federal Government can take to limit the spread of vaping among the youth and, more specifically, teenagers would include enacting a universal ban on all flavors of tobacco products and taxing e-cigarettes. The current FDA policy that includes only burning some flavors of e-cigarettes would therefore not be effective in helping to protect vulnerable teenagers and youth from the dangers of vaping. A universal ban on all flavors of tobacco, therefore, helps to limit the access that teenagers have to various vaping products. Such teenagers would therefore not be at an increased risk of abusing vaping products (Cox et al., 2016). Another policy that the Federal Government could adopt to limit the prevalence of vaping among teenagers is to introduce a tax on e-cigarettes. This is because presently, the Federal government only taxes combustible cigarettes. However, raising taxes on e-cigarettes can have mixed results presented to public health. This is because raising taxes for e-cigarettes could result in an increase in their prices which could deter some individuals from vaping. However, raising taxes on e-cigarettes could also make some teenage vapors graduate to smoking combustible cigarettes, which are more dangerous. Levying taxes on e-cigarettes should therefore be determined in such a way that it would still be cheaper to vape than to smoke. The ideal way of levying taxes on e-cigarettes would therefore be to raise the taxes for combustible cigarettes.