Video cutaways of movie and television stars “vaping” with electronic cigarettes during Sunday’s Golden Globes award show illustrate the draw and popularity of e-cigarettes.
The battery-powered, smokeless devices and the nicotene-laced ingredients they vaporize are loosely regulated and increasingly worrisome. Buyers can’t be sure what they’re ingesting.
Adults are welcome to take that risk. But society has an interest in keeping young people from using nicotene, the buzz-inducing drug in tobacco products, regardless of how it is delivered.
E-cigarette use among middle school and high school students has doubled in a year, reaching 10 percent among high schoolers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That stat alone is why the Nebraska Legislature is right to consider making it illegal to sell e-cigarettes and the solutions smoked in them to minors. Sen. Russ Karpisek’s Legislative Bill 861 would treat the sale of e-cigarettes like traditional cigarettes.
Cancer-fighting activists pursuing stricter controls on e-cigarettes worry the devices could groom a generation of future smokers by addicting them to the vapor doses of nicotine.
Former smokers say the devices have helped them quit smoking. They substitute it with a habit that produces vapor, not secondhand smoke. They seem wise to stress the benefits of vaping over smoking. But with kids, neither is good.
Many Nebraska retailers have said they would accept state prohibition of access to e-cigarettes for anyone under age 18. Commendably, many already voluntarily card kids who have tried to buy e-cigarettes.
Limiting juvenile access to e-cigarettes makes good sense, at least until we learn the health effects of “vaping.”