Vape News In Brief: April 16th, 2019 Edition
Welcome to Breazy Briefs, where we take a look around the globe, searching for news, science, and the occasional tasty pop culture tidbit related to vaping and the life of vapers. Today, let's talk about…
…this study, that reports 45% of Americans (mistakenly) believe vaping is as harmful as smoking. Add in another 10% who believe vaping is actually worse than smoking, and more than half of the country's adult population currently fails to recognize the true risk associated with smoking. This has scientists concerned, as adults who fail to grasp that vaping is less harmful than continuing to smoke are unlikely to switch from cigarettes to vapor products.
Across the pond, vaping advocates are worried that incoming restrictions on vaping stateside may have negative health implications globally. The US, you see, is the world's largest importer of vapor products. If we choose to curtail or severely limit access to vaping, foreign vape suppliers may be forced to limit their product offerings or cease business entirely, meaning that vapers and would-be vapers in smaller markets also miss out on access to products that could encourage more people to attempt to quit smoking.
Indian vapers are sighing in relief, as a high court ruling finds that a complete ban on vaping in the country is not legal. In their ruling, Dehli High Court judges say that the country's Drugs & Cosmetics Act, which had been used to implement a ban on the "manufacture, distribution, sale (including online), import, advertisement and trade" of e-cigarettes, does not actually imbue authorities with regulatory power over vaping. For now, sensible heads prevail, but we anticipate this fight will be re-litigated at some point in the future.
Hawaiian vapers can join their Indian brothers and sisters in feeling relieved, as the state legislature failed to advance a ban on the sale of flavored e-liquids, acknowledging that the measure likely wouldn't do much to prevent underage access on its own. Lawmakers are instead looking to increase fines on underage use and sales to minors to discourage youth vaping.
Washington is the latest state to raise its tobacco/vapor products age to 21, with a bill to do so now sitting on the governor's desk. While more states are moving toward similar policies, this article interestingly notes that Native American tribes retain sovereignty over their lands, and only need to adhere to the federal minimum tobacco age of 18. Therefore, while it may be illegal for young adults to purchase tobacco or vapor products across much of the state, it's impossible to make their possession illegal because there remain legal avenues where the products could be legally purchased.
Marietta, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb, is set to consider an interesting set of laws that would ban vaping while legalizing the consumption of alcohol in public spaces. We're not quite sure how to comment on the message being sent here, but the blanket tobacco ban is reportedly due to damage caused to artificial turf from the phlegm of chewing tobacco enthusiasts.
Another long-term study of nearly 900 smokers shows that not only is vaping more effective than pharmaceutical nicotine replacement therapies in helping people quit, it's also more likely that vapers will remain smoke-free a full year after their initial quit date. Duly noted.
Celebrity seconds: Grant Gustin, an actor associated with a project entitled The Flash, was recently caught attempting to take vapes on a plane. Friendly reminder: while vaping gear is welcome in your carry-on, you can't actually use it mid-flight.
Interesting switch: former Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who earlier in the decade pushed for e-cigarette flavor bans throughout the state, is now a paid lobbyist for cigalike giant Juul. A $12 billion cash infusion from Marlboro parent Altria appears to be helping Juul ramp up its efforts to convince lawmakers it's serious about cracking down on underaged consumption of its products, which is something all vapers should support given that any regulations aimed at curbing Juul use will undoubtedly affect other brands as well.
A new study is being billed as a list of "more potential hazards of e-cigarette use." Fortunately, that's not actually the subject of the white paper, published by the American Industrial Hygiene Association earlier this month. While researchers do find that some e-liquid suppliers, particularly those that manufacture pre-filled pods and cartridges, are lacking in quality control, they don't point to harmful levels of any toxic substances. A thorough reading, in fact, finds that secondhand exposure to known toxicants such as nicotine fall well below federal guidelines for workplace safety (i.e. people being consistently exposed to such substances for hours on end each day). Still, they're arguing that vaping should be treated as if it's just as dangerous as smoking until an unspecified round of further testing backs up the initial findings. You can read the whole report here.
Juul's market share, on a meteoric rise for much of the last two years, seems to finally be leveling off. That's not necessarily a bad thing for the company, which reportedly controls about 73 percent of the convenience store vapor market. RJ Reynolds, makers of Camel cigarettes and the Vuse cigalike, is a distant second at just over 13 percent. Keep in mind, though, that these sales figures don't include sales made online or at vape shops, where the vast majority of advanced vapor products are sold.
The FDA is warning that nearly three dozen underaged vapers have experienced seizures over the course of the last decade. While no direct link between vaping and seizures has been identified, and at least several of the teens identified by the agency were also using other drugs, the FDA says it'll investigate to see if a connection exists. It is known, we'll note, that seizures are one of several signs of nicotine overdose, which is not out of the question when it comes to non-smokers vaping ultra-high nicotine products such as currently popular salt-based liquids. We'll report back with findings as they become available.
Okay, the Juul news gets old, we get it. But this one's big: Kevin Burns, the company's chief executive, is now on record supporting a total flavor ban nationwide. "We support the FDA’s draft guidance restricting the sale of certain flavored products, including Juul pods, at retail outlets and online. There is no place for kid-appealing flavors in the marketplace. That is why we would also support an outright ban on such flavors, including those that mimic candies or childrens’ foods," writes Burns in an op-ed being distributed to newspapers nationwide.
Here's an interesting backlash story: San Francisco notoriously has some of the strictest anti-tobacco and anti-vape laws of any municipality, banning the sale of any flavored tobacco or e-liquid products within city limits. In order to cope with the loss of revenue from vaping, local stores are demanding that they be allowed to sell cannabis instead. Marijuana is fully legal in California, though tight restrictions exist in most cities and counties restricting where it can be bought and sold.
More in celebrity news: fashion designer Marc Jacobs' star-studded wedding in New York recently featured appearances by Bette Midler, Kate Moss, and vape pens in every attendee's gift bag. That's much classier than Jacobs' proposal to groom Charly Defrancesco, which appears to have involved a flash mob and a Chipotle fast food chain outlet.
Swiss researchers have found toxic substances in Marlboro's new "heat not burn" IQOS cigarettes, according to new research. The toxins, called isocyanates, are released when the filters of the PG-soaked cigarettes are heated to temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Celsius, and inhalation of even small amounts can cause serious lung damage. What the study didn't find, however, was whether the cigarettes, which Philip Morris calls "heet sticks," ever reach that temperature – the manufacturer says they don't, which makes sense given the cigarette filters are generally not inserted into a heating device designed to vaporize tobacco.
Another problem when it comes to preventing underaged vaping: apparently, only 50 percent of parents even know what an e-cigarette looks like. That's alarming, it can be understandably difficult to dissuade a teenager from partaking in an activity parents know nothing about.
We'll leave it there for now. Be sure to check back soon for more of last week's news, next week!