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Vape News In Brief: December 18th, 2018 Edition

Vape News In Brief: December 18th, 2018 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…


…Australia, where the New Nicotine Alliance is pushing to retire the term "e-cigarette" once and for all. The tobacco harm reduction advocacy group rightly recognizes that the word "cigarette" carries a heavily negative connotation, and that the scientifically-preferred ENDS (Electronic Nicotine Delivery System) is a bit too wonkish for the common vernacular. As with previous groups, they're recommending vaporizers simply be referred to as vaporizers, or even vapes. The change won't be easy, though, as "e-cigarette" is firmly embedded in the English language.


Science: in examining youth smoking and vaping rates over the last several years, a group of researchers from leading cancer centers across the world have concluded that teen vaping has indeed been rising since 2014. But they report an upside as well. Youth use of cigarettes and other tobacco products appears to be declining at a rate between two and four times more quickly than before vaping went mainstream. An increase in underaged use of vapor products is cause for concern and needs to be tamped down. But if these trends bear out, it appears that teens, like adults, are more likely to be moving away from traditional tobacco use rather than toward it–from a harm reduction standpoint that's a win.


People who live in poor neighborhoods are more likely to be exposed to high-risk alternatives to cigarettes rather than lower-risk alternatives like e-cigarettes, a new study finds. In examining nearly 800 New York tobacco retailers, researchers found that people in low-income and minority-dominant neighborhoods were more likely to have access to cigars and cigarillos, seen as just as risky to health or even more so than cigarettes. But in wealthier, whiter neighborhoods, smokeless tobacco and vapor products, both viewed as reduced-risk cigarette alternatives, were more likely to be featured alongside stinkies, aka cigarettes.


Economic analysts are ringing the warning bell for vape flavors. They're calling 2019 a "make or break year" for the vapor market, cautioning that if big cigalike brands can't get teen use under control the entire industry faces decimation at the hands of the FDA, which hasn't ruled out expanding its ban on flavored e-liquids beyond gas stations and convenience stores.



Speaking of those cigalike brands, Altria (Marlboro's US parent) announced last week that it will end production of its Greensmoke and MarkTen cigalike lines. The company is in talks to acquire an ownership stake in market leader Juul, and is also betting big on its heat-not-burn technology that will allow for the sale of reduced-harm cigarettes–if they gain FDA approval. While big, the move isn't groundbreaking, older cartomizer-based cigalikes have long been losing ground to newer pod mods, and if Altria can't legally bring a new product to market (thanks to the 2016 cutoff date for introducing new devices in the US), its best bet is to buy into a company like Juul whose technology is grandfathered in (for now.)


We've previously reported on New York-area schools installing "vape detectors" in public restrooms. It appears the trend is spreading to a handful of schools in the Boston area. According to a report, the new devices will detect the scent of vapor in bathrooms and alert school officials via text message. We're not sure how this will work out, but we're hopeful it's effective, as it seems like a much more palatable solution than locking students out of restrooms completely to prevent vaping, as some other schools have done.  


Add Baltimore to a list of cities considering an outright ban on the sale of flavored e-liquids. Most municipalities making such an extreme move have been in Northern California. But as fear over teen vaping spreads, expect more and more local bans to crop up across the country. If you care about your right to vape as an adult, we suggest joining CASAA or another vape advocacy group and making your voice heard.


Echoing the US Food and Drug Administration move a few months ago, Canadian researchers are declaring that vaping is now a teenage epidemic in the Great White North. Just like here at home, experts say they've got the data to back their claims, but are trumpeting the news before releasing the facts. We're still waiting on the numbers to come in, but it's rumored that underage vapor product use is up by as much as 75 percent this year in the US–in Canada it may have spiked by as much as 80 percent. Once again, Juul is being named as the responsible party.


This Week in Bad Criminals: An English woman felt so bad about stealing two new vape setups from a shop in a Birmingham suburb that she returned the devices to the store manager along with a heartfelt apology. Mind you, this was after video of her theft made the rounds on Facebook and her employer fired her after seeing the tape. Either way, she returned her ill-gotten gains and the shopkeeper, feeling bad for her, declined to press charges. A heartwarming holiday vape crime story, indeedy.

It depends on what the definition of "is" is: Two headlines published on the same day last week seem to reach the same conclusion, but tell very different tales. In one, “Cigarette use by Arizona youth on the decline as e-cigarette use surges,” we learn that fewer teens are using traditional tobacco products, but more are experimenting with vapor products. Meanwhile, “Vaping has Reversed the Decline of Tobacco Use Among Maine Students” seems to imply that a similar vaping spike is causing Maine youth to smoke. But that's not the case–by refusing to acknowledge the difference between vaping and smoking, as even the American Cancer Society has done this year, it's easy to mistakenly believe that vapor products are causing teens to take up smoking when, in fact, the youth smoking rate is dropping faster than it ever has before (see earlier citation). Underage vaping is without doubt a problem worthy of efforts to contain it, but defining vaping as "tobacco use" unnecessarily muddies the discussion.

We'll put a lid on it for now, but regular readers will be well aware there's always something more comin' round the mountain…