How to stop teen vaping? Make e-cigs harder to get

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By Maggie Fox

Teen vaping has hit “epidemic” levels, according to federal health officials, with rates up by 78 percent over the last year alone. But strict laws on selling vape products to underage kids can reduce the number of teens who try e-cigarettes, according to research published Monday.

Teens living in cities or towns that more strictly policed retail sales of tobacco products were a third less likely to try cigarettes or e-cigarettes as those living in areas with more lax regulation, the team at the University of Southern California found. And they were half as likely to become regular users of tobacco, including e-cigarettes.

It supports what tobacco control advocates have been saying for years: strong laws, with equally strong enforcement, work to reduce tobacco use.

“It’s actually not at all surprising,” said Dr. Harold Farber, a pediatric lung expert at Texas Children’s Hospital, who was not involved in the study.

“If you have good laws and you enforce those laws to keep tobacco out of the hands of kids, fewer kids will get hold of tobacco,” Farner told NBC News.