A study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University suggests that if regulators limit the nicotine content of cigarettes, people may turn to illegal sources to buy full-nicotine cigarettes, reports Filter. However, the availability of affordable vape products could deter this shift to the illicit market.
The study found that nicotine vapes, which are believed to be less harmful than cigarettes, played a crucial role in people’s choices. When vapes were priced lower than illegal cigarettes, they were purchased to a greater extent, according to the study. Restricting nicotine content alone could lead to an increase in black market cigarette purchases, but making e-cigarettes more affordable could reduce combusted cigarette consumption, the authors suggested. The study emphasizes the importance of regulating vaping products alongside reducing nicotine in smoked tobacco.
The findings suggest that a mandate requiring all cigarettes to have low nicotine content may be unnecessary if the right policy environment is established, including favorable taxation and diverse smoke-free alternatives.
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