Brown School

WashU Expert: Want to stop e-cig epidemic? Don’t forget state, local policies

Tobacco control experts Douglas Luke and Todd Combs of Washington University in St. Louis would welcome regulation of e-cigarette commercials on television and radio. But an advertising ban, as recently suggested by a member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), should be part of a broader plan to curb the vaping epidemic among America’s youth, they said.

In addition to potential federal action, Luke and Combs would like municipalities and states to exercise their considerable power to regulate e-cigarettes through excise taxes, restrictions of flavored tobacco products and public smoking bans.

“Historically, tobacco control has worked when all three levels of government — local, state and federal — take action,” said Luke, professor at the Brown School and director of the Center for Public Health Systems Science. “Excise taxes on the state level and smoke-free policies that happen at the community level are also important.”

“Communities will be the laboratories that discover new ways to protect kids from these emerging products,” added Combs, research assistant professor at the Brown School and assistant director of the center.

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