Vape News In Brief: January 22nd, 2018 Edition
Vape News In Brief: January 22nd, 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…
…this think piece from the conservative think tank Independent Institute that sums it up in the headline: "Teen Vaping Is Bad, But the Alternative is Worse." Author Raymond March notes that while the US Food and Drug Administration is considering moves to reduce the addictiveness of combustible tobacco products, crackdowns on vaping have been front and center in the media over the last six months while actions against combustible tobacco have spilled far less ink in the press. March suggests this may be looking at the problem backward, noting that limiting flavor choice in vapor products does nothing to reduce demand for nicotine, it simply changes the means of supply. In this case, the alternative for people potentially losing access to vaping is a return to cigarettes–the worse alternative.
Financial blog WalletHub is out with its annual analysis on the real cost of smoking, and the numbers are eye-popping. When factoring in not just the cost of a pack of smokes a day, but also the lost opportunity to invest money otherwise spent on stinkies, lost wages from sick time off work, and the additional burden smokers place on the health care system over their (shortened) lives—smokers cost themselves (and everyone else around them) anywhere from $1.4 million (in Georgia) to over $2.8 million (in Connecticut).
New survey data suggests that teens exposed to secondhand vapor may be more likely to suffer asthma attacks. While previous research compares vapor positively with respect to smoke because it contains far fewer chemicals and dissipates much more rapidly, it would be remiss to suggest that breathing anything that isn't clean, fresh air (that includes standing in close proximity to an active vaper) isn't worse than the former. Still, critics note that the study failed to distinguish between asthma sufferers exposed only to vapor from those also exposed to secondhand smoke as well as vapor. Instead, they cited vapor as a cause for respiratory issues that were possibly smoking-related.
Among the shortlist of people pitched to cigalike giant Juul to lead its lobbying efforts in Washington: controversial pundit and former White House strategist Steve Bannon. Juul appears to have politely declined the offer, made by a lobby firm staffer rather than by Bannon himself.
Six months in, new tobacco taxes in Kentucky seem to be having a positive effect. Last July, the state boosted cigarette taxes by 50 cents a pack, while declining to implement a special "sin tax" on vaping. Since then, tobacco consumption is down and more people report trying to quit or switch to vapor products. E-cig use was also down among 18-29 year-olds, but on the rise in adults over 30. Tobacco opponents who'd sought a $1 tax increase and to tax vaping as if it were smoking were disappointed, however. They said their preferred changes would have had an even broader impact.
Last week in dumb criminals: a police standoff in the Northern California town of Novato ended peacefully after police deployed a SWAT team robot to deliver a vape pen to a man who'd locked himself in his truck outside a grocery store gas station. The incident started when 40-year-old Juan Roman got into an argument with the clerk at a different gas station, proceeded to douse the adjacent convenience store with gasoline, and attempted to light it on fire. Roman failed to ignite even a gas-soaked floor mat, then fled to a different gas station several blocks away as police gave chase. After procuring the requested e-cig (and five-plus hours of tense negotiation), Roman surrendered peacefully. He's being charged with vandalism and attempted arson.
Flush with a cash infusion from Marlboro parent Altria, Juul is planning a round of television ad buys to air this summer. The spots, all running in late-night time slots, are said to target adult smokers over the age of 35 who are considering switching. This wouldn't be the first round of e-cig spots on the telly, after Lorrilard Tobacco bought the blu brand in 2012 they ran a widely-panned series of ads featuring questionably-relevant actor Stephen Dorff. While cigarette advertising has been banned from TV since 1971, lawmakers have yet to update that policy to include vapor devices.
File to: new boogeymen. Just as lawmakers and responsible vape companies are struggling to get a handle on the explosion in underage use fueled by the rise of the pod mod, a new scare is around the corner. Several companies are now apparently offering nicotine-laced candy-flavored toothpicks for sale, and concerned adults everywhere worry this could be the latest ploy to hook kids on the addictive drug.
Regulation works: a new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics finds that areas with strong tobacco sales licensing laws (and additional licensing fees for tobacco products that fund enforcement of those laws) can reduce underage access to tobacco and vapor products by as much as a third. As opposed to restricting adults' access to alternative tobacco products, strong age laws (and strong enforcement) seems to be an effective option.
Yet another study, this one published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, reinforces the fact that smoking rates in America, either because of, or despite the rise of vaping (depending on your view), continue to decline, reaching new all-time lows in 2017. But not everyone is enjoying the benefits of that decline. In lower-income areas, particularly areas of color, smoking rates are falling more slowly than in affluent white communities, if they're falling at all. This blog is big on pointing out that correlation does not equal causation, but we will note here that a disparity exists over cigarette alternatives, with poorer neighborhoods hewing to cigars and smokeless tobacco while richer ones have…richer access to vapor products.
In a move that would follow California and five other states, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco or vapor products from 18 to 21. Not only does raising the age to legally purchase nicotine have the obvious effect of preventing underage access, it’s been proven to decrease the likelihood that people will ever start using nicotine in the first place.
Ten seconds of Celebrity: fashion model Bella Hadid announced her New Year's resolution to quit Juuling by posting a video clip of herself…Juuling.
This report from George Mason University opens with a rundown of all the ways vaping is a bad, bad thing. It admonishes "some users" who "think of e-cigarettes as a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes" before breaking down some of the compounds found in vapor (not noting that these compounds are found at levels far lower than in cigarette smoke). But the meat of the story is that the government is likely vastly underestimating the number of casualties from exploding e-cigs, given that not everyone who experiences an explosion is likely to report to an emergency room to seek treatment. The article reports that 2,035 people did just that in the US between 2015 and 2017. For perspective, in 2015 there were an estimated 9 million vapers in the US, that figure is now closer to 11 million so that’s about .02 percent. Mishandled cigarettes, meanwhile, cause an estimated 7,600 residential fires per year, and are responsible for 14 percent of all fire-related deaths in residential buildings. George Mason researchers are calling for "improved surveillance of e-cigarette injuries and better regulation of the products by the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products." But "In the meantime, users and bystanders risk serious bodily injury from unregulated e-cigarette batteries exploding." Learn some battery safety, people.
We'll end on that rather sour note. See you next week, folks!