Do E-Cigarette Retail Licensure Laws Reduce Tobacco Use?

Charles Courtemanche
University of Kentucky

Yang Liang

Johanna Catherine Maclean

Caterina Muratori

Joseph J. Sabia

Abstract: E-cigarette licensure laws (ELLs) require retailers to obtain a state license to sell e-cigarettes over the counter. This study is the first to comprehensively explore the effect of ELL adoption on youth and adult tobacco product use. Using data from the State Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) and a difference-in-differences approach, we find no evidence that ELL adoption reduces overall youth ENDS use. The precision of our estimates allows us to rule out, with 95% confidence, ELL-induced prior-month ENDS use declines of more than 3.3 percent. The pattern of null findings persists when we examine ELLs that impose (1) higher penalties for retailer non-compliance, (2) higher renewable licensure fees, and (3) criminal as compared to civil penalties. However, we do uncover evidence that adoption of ELLs with higher penalties associated with a modest reduction in ENDS use among Black teens. Auxiliary analyses using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) generally show null results for adults, but ELLs accompanied by higher penalties appear to reduce habitual ENDS use for some younger adults. We conclude that ELLs have only limited success in curbing access to ENDS.

Published: May, 2024

Read the Full Document