Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia has been given four years and $1.4 million to conduct a study into vaping legislation, regulation and the impact of e-cigarettes on public health.

The university’s economist Michael Pesko will lead the study, which is in partnership with Cornell University, Temple University, the University of Kentucky, the University of Pennsylvania, and the School of Public Health at Georgia State.

Researchers will study the effects of e-cigarette-related regulations on pricing, access, public perception of the safety of e-cigarettes, and the use and sale of e-cigarettes, traditional cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco. They will also investigate the impact of e-cigarette regulations on sales of nicotine replacement therapies, such as gum and patches, for those who are seeking to quit smoking.

In a press release published on Georgia State University’s online news hub, the lead researcher said:

“There is a gap in understanding how to regulate or deregulate e-cigarettes in the most optimal way from the perspective of public health, and a lack of understanding of what spillover effects vaping regulations might have on other health behaviours.”

Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the US, with one in five Americans dying as a result of smoking-related illness. Alluding to this, Pesko said:

“Anything we can do to reduce disease and death caused by smoking is time and money well spent. E-cigarettes are an intriguing new dimension to traditional tobacco control efforts because it is unclear how they will affect the pattern of disease and death from tobacco. Will e-cigarettes help, or will they hurt, and what regulations, if any, would facilitate the best outcome from the perspective of public health?”

The funding for the four-year study has been provided by the National Institutes of Health.