To smoke or to vape? E-cigarette regulation in the US, the UK, and Canada

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Repository Usage Stats



E-cigarettes are hailed by some as a positive development in the war against smoking and reviled by others as a weapon used to addict a new generation to nicotine. This dichotomy highlights an important debate about e-cigarette risk trade-offs: how can governments strike a balance between promoting e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid / reduced harm alternative for adult smokers and ensuring that e-cigarettes don’t act as “gateway drugs” to smoking for adolescents and other non-smokers?

To this end, this thesis will specifically examine how the US, the UK, and Canada are regulating e-cigarettes. This thesis will show that policymakers often must grapple with risk trade-offs, even if they do not explicitly say as much. I also show that at least in the case of e-cigarette regulation, policymakers focus more on scientific evidence when business interests are fractured. Due to a lack of explicit risk trade-off analyses, however, their assessments of risks vary based on society-specific concerns, which then contributes to great variations in regulation. These variations thus emphasize the need for better cost-benefit analyses of risk-risk trade-offs.





Sear, Amanda (2018). To smoke or to vape? E-cigarette regulation in the US, the UK, and Canada. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from

Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.