Should people have access to products that may be harmful because they’re adults living in a capitalist society? Or, should they not have access to such items because the products may harm them? It appears that people in Alabama and other states are asking such questions.

In 2019, Alabama state legislators sponsored a bill that would make it illegal to sell vaping products to anyone under the age of nineteen in the state. Vaping is a practice in which devices burn nicotine and other products. People inhale the vapor that results from this process.

Since vaping is relatively new, researchers haven’t conducted many studies on the long-term results of vaping. Some people claim that vaping is safer than cigarettes. Others say that since it burns nicotine, it may produce the same health conditions that cigarettes, cigars, and other more traditional tobacco products cause.

Discussions about vaping and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) among different age groups recall similar discussions about alcohol. Alcohol is another substance that is legal for people, at least for adults.

Although it is legal for adults twenty-one and older in the United States, alcohol is not a safe product for some people. Some people struggle with alcohol dependency and addiction and have had to seek treatment. Others work in jobs or have other responsibilities that that require sobriety, such as operating machinery or caring for children.

Unlike alcohol, which is only legal for people twenty-one and older in every U.S. state, the laws for vaping products vary in different U.S. states. Some states say that people may buy vape products if they’re eighteen or over, other states say nineteen or over, and still other states say twenty-one or older.

We know the long-term and short-term consequences of alcohol abuse and addiction, so we restrict the purchase and consumption of alcohol. Given the potential dangers of vaping products, should we restrict such products even more?